Retail in Asia


Dubai Duty Free’s eight-month sales surge past USD 1 billion

Dubai Duty Free has reported a 104 percent year-on-year increase in sales for the first eight months of 2022. Turnover reached USD 1.06 billion, placing the travel retailer well on track to reach its USD 1.6 billion revenue target by year end.

If achieved, the revenue target will still be some distance short of 2019’s record USD 2.029 billion (especially allowing for subsequent retail price increases) but nonetheless represents highly encouraging progress as the travel and shopping revival accelerates.

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As revealed by The Moodie Davitt Report, first-half sales were just -20.52 percent short of the equivalent period in pre-pandemic 2019. And in a stellar second quarter, sales reached USD 395.8 million, +109 percent up year-on-year and only -12.6 percent short of Q2 2019’s USD 452.7 million.

For the first eight months, perfumes, wines & spirits, gold, cigarettes & other tobacco products, and electronics retained the top five category positions. Perfume sales soared by +89 percent year-on-year off a low base to USD 186 million (around 17.6 percent of revenue). Wines & spirits sales reached USD 168 million, accounting for 16 percent of sales.

Source: Shutterstock

Gold sales increased by +181 percent over the same eight-month period to USD 106 million, and cigarettes & other tobacco products brought in USD 98 million (9 percent of sales). Electronics rose by +79 percent to USD 81 million.

Dubai Duty Free also reported a notable sales increase for the fashion category, which rose from USD 41 million in the first eight months of 2021 to USD 130 million this time around.

The retailer credited this strong performance to recent openings of big-name fashion brands at Dubai International Airport (DXB), including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Cartier. Along with Chanel and Gucci, they now make up Dubai Duty Free’s top five luxury brands.

Online sales reached USD 29 million, accounting for 3 percent of total sales in the first eight months.

Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin said, “We have had a fantastic year so far and I am pleased that we have recovered over 80 percent of our [pre-pandemic] business from January to August, whereas the passenger recovery is about 67 percent of 2019 levels. We have now recalled almost 2,000 of our laid-off staff and our current staffing levels are getting closer to the pre-COVID figures.”

Source: Shutterstock

“We are heading into a busy sales period for the last quarter and with the upcoming FIFA World Cup starting in November, this will further boost traffic to Al Maktoum International Airport (AMIA) which will handle an additional 30 return flights to Doha during the World Cup period.”

Colm McLoughlin added “The opening of the new fashion outlets has resulted in a big increase in the category and we are also continuing with our ongoing retail developments at Dubai International Airport. All in all, we are confident that we will reach our target at the end of December, which also marks our 39th anniversary.”

Departure sales in DXB and AMIA, which account for 88 percent of total sales, rose +115 percent year-on-year from  January-August months to USD 927 million. Terminal 2 Departures sales increased +59 percent.

Sales across all concourses have registered significant increases with Concourse B revenue up +35 percent against the same period in 2022, mainly due to the luxury boutiques, Dubai Duty Free.

Dubai Duty Free said it will continue to implement retail improvements over the next 18 months, including a full renovation of the Concours B liquor and tobacco offer.

Rehiring and recruitment has brought employee numbers up to 4,407, including 58 new Emirati recruits.

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The travel retailer is continuing with a busy events and promotional calendar, which includes the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend at Newbury Racecourse on 16 and 17 September.

This will be followed by the 29th edition of the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup on 24 and 25 November, the Dubai Duty Free Sailing League Regatta from 30 November-3 December and the Dubai Duty Free 39th Anniversary on 20 December.

(Source: The Moodie Davitt Report)