In the spotlight: Sebastian Clausen

Sebastian Clausen, Secretary to APTRA and Sales Director, Global Duty Free, Imperial Tobacco

Meet Sebastian

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Secretary to the Association and Sales Director Global Duty Free for Imperial Tobacco Ltd, Sebastian has been a key driver in recent campaign initiatives to protect not only the tobacco category but also the international status of Duty Free. Here he outlines his career, his take on the industry and the challenges it faces, and he provides some insight to what inspires him in his personal as well as his professional life.

How has your career developed and what led you to become involved in the duty free industry??

I started working in the tobacco industry more than 15 years ago. Most of the time I have been in domestic market businesses in various Sales, Trade and Brand Marketing roles in Germany and Eastern Europe. Then in 2009 I used an internal opportunity to enter the Duty Free world by moving to Singapore as Regional Director Duty Free for Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific. Within that role I relocated the office and Duty Free team to Hong Kong where I lived with my family until March 2013. I am now back in Germany, where the majority of the Imperial Tobacco Global Duty Free team is based. As Sales Director I am responsible for the Duty Free sales worldwide.

What do you consider to be your finest achievements in a professional capacity?

Different roles present different challenges. There have been achievements in all the various roles I have had. I am happy with what my teams and I have delivered over the years and I am looking forward to what the future brings. It has never been boring so far!

What in your view is the primary objective of APTRA?

APTRA represents the Travel Retail / Duty Free industry in the APAC region. As an association with members from Airports, Retailers and Suppliers it stands for the common interests of the industry in the region and supports the future development of the business. .

What does your role in APTRA entail?

As Secretary and a Board member I try personally to support APTRA in becoming bigger, more influential and better connected for the wellbeing of its members. Working for Imperial Tobacco of course I represent the category on the APTRA Board. As the tobacco category is under threat it is my role to create a better understanding of the issues, to exchange ideas and bring in best practice in order to safeguard the category and at the same time the industry.

How would you like to see the Association develop in the coming years?

We have taken major steps forward in APTRA during the past couple of years. The association has not only grown in terms of the number of members it represents in the region but also the scope of activities has been widened considerably. APTRA works hand in hand with other regional associations, for example ETRC and MEADFA, but also with national Travel Retail associations within the region. Our Consumer Research programme delivers added value to our members and projects like the Responsible Retail Training Programme, Code of Conduct are major steps in safeguarding the industry’s interests. I am confident that we will build on these successes in the coming years. We will further grow the membership size and APTRA’s influence in the region, run more projects of common interest and benefit, and build the base for a growing Travel Retail business in Asia Pacific.

The duty free & travel retail industry, particularly the tobacco category, faces challenges on several fronts. On which should attention be focused most closely at this point?

The biggest challenge is that Duty Free is often misunderstood. It is a special and international retail environment that needs to be treated differently from the domestic markets. Therefore APTRA and the other Duty Free & Travel Retail associations need to create an open dialogue with regulators and authorities to ensure the characteristics of Duty Free are understood and recognised.

Are you optimistic about the industry’s future?

Yes, tourism will grow and so the industry will. But challenges need to be taken seriously by all parts of the industry and we need to work together.

Could you allow us some insight to your personal life, your leisure activities and your family?

I moved to Asia with my wife and we returned to Germany as a family with three children. My daughter was born in Singapore and my twin sons were born in Hong Kong. It’s crazy at home these days with our three young and very active family members and when I am not travelling I try to spend as much time as possible with them. I really enjoy it.

Playing golf is clearly reduced to the tournaments at the various Duty Free trade shows and also other hobbies like snowboarding, photography and cooking are waiting for less busy times….

Where is home?

I consider home to be where my family is. I really enjoyed my time in Singapore and Hong Kong. Being back in Hamburg makes me equally happy. It is the place where I was born and a city I consider to be one of the best places to live.

What or who inspires you most?

I get my inspiration from many people around me, my wife, my kids, my family, friends, colleagues and others I have the chance to meet and speak to while I am travelling around the world.

Welcome to Chocolat Frey

Welcome to Chocolat Frey

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Swiss chocolate company “Chocolat Frey” has recently become a member of APTRA. The company was founded by the Frey brothers – Max and Robert – back in 1887 in Aarau Switzerland celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2012.

The company sold partially to Swiss retail giant Migros in the 1950s – later to be bought out fully. It wasn’t until the early 1980s that Frey started exporting its chocolate ; export now represents 30% of the company’s turnover.

For more information, please visit the company website: www.chocolatfrey.com or contact their Head of Travel Retail Claudia Rosenberg; claudia.rosenberg@chocolatfrey.ch. Her full contact details can be found in the members’ directory in the members’ only section.

Pilot launch for APTRA’s Responsible Retail Training Programme

Pilot launch for APTRA’s Responsible Retail Training Programme

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The much awaited training programme which has been developed to assist retail staff in duty free shops around the region to understand the principles of responsible retailing, is now ready for its pre-launch pilot. The pilot launch will include a test and evaluation phase before a full-scale roll-out planned for the middle of the year. APTRA would like to invite retailers interested in piloting the scheme among a limited number of staff to contact Michael Barrett at michael@aptra.asia.

Membership renewal reminder

Membership renewal reminder

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When making the payment for your company’s membership renewal, please remember to accept to pay the bank charges as APTRA lost a significant amount of money from the accumulated charges on bank transfers. These are not very high (around USD30 on average), but when multiplied by a large number of transfers, it amounts to a considerable loss for APTRA.

Any company wishing to provide further support can do so through voluntary contributions or sponsorship of the research reports which are read by key decision makers in the industry around the region. For more details, please contact Michael Barrett: michael@aptra.asia .

Asia Pacific consumer insights report : The role of gifting

Asia Pacific consumer insights report : The role of gifting

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In this month’s Asia Pacific Consumer Insights update, m1nd-set reports on the role and importance of gifting in duty free.
The charts which members can find in the members’ only section of the APTRA website demonstrate some key findings about how the channel can be marketed more to travellers as a source for gifting.
Among all the world regions, Asian airports come out on top of the ratings as a place to buy gifts with the Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai and Indians being the top nationalities to rate airports well for this criterion. The charts demonstrate that the beauty, confectionery and liquor categories are the most commonly purchased items for gifting. Another finding is that there is a stronger preference for gifting among business travellers than among leisure travellers and a far greater propensity to purchase gifts among regular travellers, flying 6-9 times a year than those who travel less or more frequently. For further information on these findings, please contact Peter Mohn on pmohn@m1nd-set.com.

Generation Update: Asia Pacific leads global DF&TR sales growth in 2013

Generation Update: Asia Pacific leads global DF&TR sales growth in 2013

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According to preliminary results from the duty free and travel retail industry research specialists, Generation Research, Sweden, in terms of percentage duty free sales growth in 2013 Asia Pacific was the best-performing region where duty free sales grew +12.3% on average across all product categories and channels. This can be compared to the global average growth of 8.0%. In 2013 duty free sales in Asia Pacific reached US$ 22.4 billion, just about US$ 2.5 billion more than in 2012.

Members can access the full report, including the details by product category in the members’ only section of the APTRA website. For further detailed information and insights on how 2013 came out in in terms of sales and market shares of categories, channels, countries, locations, companies and brands in Asia Pacific – please contact info@generation.se or Malin Eriksson on +46 660 103 20.

Have your say…

Have your say…

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The board of APTRA meet four times per year, with the first meeting of 2014 to take place in Hong Kong during the last week of February. The next meetings will take place in May, during the TFWA Asia Pacific event, in early September and in late October during the TFWA World Summit. The meetings enable the twelve board members to review current strategy and activities and plan for the months and year ahead. If there are any specific issues you or your company would like the board to address during any of the next meetings, please write to us to let us know. You can send any questions or points of order you would like the board to address to APTRA’s executive officer, Michael Barrett: michael@aptra.asia.

Exclusive member research continues

Exclusive member research continues

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APTRA has renewed its agreement with Swiss travel market research company m1nd-set for another year to provide exclusive studies to the association members on key areas of concern for the industry. The research programme this year has been developed based on feedback from members taken from the recent survey. It will focus on consumer behaviour in the airport and inflight duty free retail environment, looking at aspects such as consumer satisfaction with specific services, the use of technology, the impact of security regulations and the difference in shopping behaviour between Asia Pacific and non-Asia Pacific travellers. A further study will look at the shopping behaviour of outbound travellers from specific markets, including China, Korea, Indonesia and Thailand, on the core categories in duty free, with an additional focus on non-Asia Pacific travellers, Russians in particular. The fashion and accessory category will also be dealt with in a special study which will lend particular attention to certain sub-categories. The research reports will be delivered in a series of monthly reports to members in the dedicated members’ only section on the APTRA website.

India food and drinks imports

India food and drinks imports

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Dialogue and engagement continues in India where container loads of alcohol and confectionery stocks bound for both domestic and duty free markets being held up in ports. Customs are refusing to clear the goods as they do not comply to Indian labelling rules, as reported in last month’s newsletter.

Further meetings have been held with industry stakeholders, foreign trade delegations and the European Union trade representatives in New Delhi to establish a diplomatic solution to the situation affecting all liquor and confectionery suppliers. While the situation is affecting the huge Indian domestic market as well as the duty free retailers, APTRA is advocating that the Indian government upholds the exemptions to the national regulations duty free retail as per standard practice and outlined in India’s own foreign trade act.