Dubai Duty Free returns to sales growth in 2017

Tobacco was among the key categories driving the increase

Dubai Duty Free (DDF) has announced a return to sales growth in 2017 after two years of declining purchases.

The company said saw sales of Dhs7.05bn ($1.93bn), an increase of 5.6 per cent on 2016’s Dhs6.673bn ($1.82bn) when sales were affected by currency fluctuations and a wider travel retail slump.

Read: Currency movements hit 2016 sales at Dubai Duty Free

The increase was partly thanks to a new monthly sales record in December of Dhs801m ($219m) under a 25 per cent discount sales promotion to celebrate the company’s 34-year anniversary.

“We are pleased to announce such a positive year with 2017 marking our 34th year of business,” said executive vice chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin.

“The entire team at Dubai Duty Free has worked hard to provide passengers with a first class shopping experience at both Dubai International and Al Maktoum International and I join our chairman, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in thanking them for their efforts.”

Dubai Duty Free recorded 27.2 million sales transactions throughout the year, with 73 million units of merchandise sold and an average of 75,000 transactions per day.

Perfumes remained the best selling category with annual sales of Dhs1.1bn ($300m) or 16 per cent of the total, followed by liquor at Dhs1.09bn ($298m) and tobacco at Dhs690.11m ($189m).

Tobacco sales were up 19 per cent as a new 100 per cent excise tax came into force that was not applied to UAE=bound passengers unless they bought more than 400 cigarettes

Read: Soft drinks, tobacco prices unchanged at some UAE stores as tax comes into force

Cosmetics were the fourth most popular category with sales increasing by 17 per cent to Dhs626m ($172m) and double-digit increases were also seen in electronics where sales were up 16 per cent to Dhs547m ($150m), handbags where sales were up 13 per cent to Dhs518m ($142m) and small leather where sales were up 16 per cent to Dhs187m ($51m).

Departures accounted for the significant majority of all sales at 87 per cent or Dhs6.1bn ($1.6bn), but arrival sales also increased 3.6 per cent to 10.8 per cent of the total.

DDF said it opened new perfumes, cosmetics, liquor and tobacco areas in Dubai International Airport’s Concourse C during 2017 and a new Bulgari shop in Concourse B, as well as retail areas at the departure terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport and a new shop at Riverland at Dubai Parks and Resorts.