Morocco’s pioneering duty free store operator will continue renovation of its Mohammed V International Airport stores through later this year
CBX, the New York-based brand agency and retail design consultancy, has completed the initial phases of design work on duty free stores operated by IDFS at Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport (CMN). IDFS, Morocco’s first duty free store company, maintains 926 square meters (9,967 square feet) of selling space divided among a trio of stores at the country’s busiest international airport.
While IDFS remains the dominant duty free operator in Morocco with a total of 10 shops at all major airports, competitors have entered the market with new locations. To best serve its loyal and growing clientele of discriminating international travelers, the 25-year-old company turned to CBX to strategically reposition its stores and to establish new identity standards, including a new logo that, while heavy in Moroccan influence, has been modernized and thus sets a differentiated tone for the new shops.
“IDFS has embarked on a considerable strategic new store and remodeling program aimed at creating memorable environments,” noted store designer Joseph Bona, president of branded environments at CBX. “They wanted to redefine the brand to be more in tune with the high-end specialty stores that its well-traveled customers shop across the globe.”
The fast-track project, begun last July, required a world-class design to increase store shopability as well as a smart and flexible fixturing system to handle a variety of merchandise from tobacco products, wines and spirits, to watches, handbags, cosmetics and fragrances. The first phase was completed earlier this year with the unveiling of a new, 162-square-meter (1,743-square-foot) wall shop featuring fragrances (Tom Ford, Bulgari, Hermes, Lacoste & Marc Jacobs) as well as confectionery and gifts.
Inspired by Moroccan architecture most recognized by its royal arches, CBX created a series of “Riads”—a traditional Moroccan residential design featuring an interior garden or courtyard – rendered in a modern way. The firm’s design scheme references the layout of a classic Riad and further delineates merchandise categories and assists wayfinding with stylized silhouettes, pylons and forms within the shop’s open plan. The plan further employs vertical breaks to create segmented shops to best highlight each merchandise category. Customer journeys through the space are facilitated by overhead departmental signage and internally lit tower fixtures clearly marked with designer brand logos. Abundant LED ambient light punctuated with softly luminous ceiling-hung pendants enhances the welcoming effect. Underfoot, the ever-changing Moroccan desert inspired a circulation path which features flooring transitions from dark tile to lighter colored ones. To further reflect the country’s rich culture and natural beauty, an indigenous color palette featuring shades of rich ivory with sea- and sky-inspired blues is combined with classic Moroccan graphical design motifs.
“We wanted travelers to have a lasting impression of Morocco as they were leaving the country,” Bona explained. “By recalling the country’s traditional architecture along with its luxurious natural palette in a modern way within IDFS stores, we believe we’ve accomplished that objective while also reinforcing IDFS’ position as Morocco’s leading travel retailer.”
The second phase of the project was completed in May with a remodeled and expanded wall shop, which is being tied to a celebration of the company’s 25th anniversary. This 330-square-meter (3,552-square-foot) shop is devoted to an expanded selection of prestige fragrances and cosmetics (Chanel, Clarins, Dior, Givenchy, Guerlain, YSL and more) as well as confectionery (Ferrero Rocher, Lindt, Toblerone, Cadbury, and Kinder), cigarettes (Marlboro, Winston, Camel, Vogue, and others), cigars, liquors, wines and gifts.
Meanwhile, design work is underway for the renovation of IDFS’ 434-square-meter (4,672-square-foot) inline shop featuring handbags, sunglasses, watches, apparel and giftware from such brands as Bulgari, Dolce & Gabbana, Lacoste, Longchamp and Swarovski—a number of which are exclusive to IDFS in Morocco’s airport retail market. This third location at CMN is expected to be completed later this year.
IDFS’ latest strategic design initiatives is led by Executive Vice President Christopher Tantoco, who grew up in the business under the mentorship of his grandparents and IDFS founders Bienvenido Tantoco, Sr. and his late wife, Gliceria Tantoco.
“We have made significant investments in the improvement of our stores. To strengthen our position in Morocco’s competitive duty free industry, we commissioned specialists CBX and New Store Europe to execute the major transformation of our brand through our flagship store in Casablanca,” said Christopher Tantoco. “We wanted to differentiate ourselves from our competitor by adding local flavor to our shops and create an environment that will maximize dwell time, customer flow, and properly present each brands’ products creating a memorable shopping experience. I am very excited as this is only the first step to the robust future of IDFS. Through this project, we have further strengthened our claim of being the ‘Last good buy before you fly!’”