Dubai Duty Free’s (DDF) sales fell around 3.18 per cent last year as growing passenger numbers at the emirate’s airports failed to translate into consumer spending.
The company announced annual sales of Dhs6.673bn ($1.82bn) in 2016 from Dhs6.892bn ($1.87bn) the previous year. DDF also saw 1.5 per cent decline in sales in 2015 from the previous year.
In comparison, passenger traffic at Dubai International grew 7 per cent in the first 11 months of 2016 to 75.95 million people.
Similarly to 2015, Dubai Duty Free executive vice chairman and chief executive officer Colm McLoughlin attributed the sales decline to foreign currency movements.
“It has been a challenging year for retail overall and for the travel retail industry worldwide, mainly due to currency fluctuations,” he said.
Perfumes remained the company’s highest selling category with Dhs1.104bn ($306.85m) of sales, followed by liquor at Dhs1.063bn, cigarettes and tobacco at Dhs578.53m, cosmetics at Dhs535.65m and confectionary at Dhs517.48m.
Sales in departures outlets made up 86.66 per cent of annual sales or Dhs5.782bn.
Dubai Duty Free said it recorded 27.119 million sales transactions during the year, an increase of 1 per cent on 2015.
Sales transactions averaged 74,097 per day across Dubai International and Al Maktoum International Airports.
“There is a lot to look forward to in 2017, including the improvement of our retail offer both in Dubai International Airport’s Concourse C and in Al Maktoum International Airport’s Passenger Terminal Building (AMIA PTB), said McLoughlin.
“In Concourse C, we have just opened our outlets in the area that links Concourse C to Concourse B, and we will fully renovate the retail areas in the rest of departures and apron levels of Concourse C over the course of the year.”