Dubai Duty Free sales fall 1.5% in 2015 on Russian spending slump, weak euro

The retailer recorded sales of $1.8bn last year with perfumes remaining the best selling category



Airport retailer Dubai Duty Free recorded a 1.5 per cent drop in sales in 2015 as the weak euro and dropping Russian spend hit operations.

Sales reached Dhs 6.892bn ($1.8bn) last year, compared to Dhs 6.999bn in 2014.

The company said it recorded a Dhs 200m drop in spending by Russian tourists while a move away from luxury brands by Chinese travellers also impacted sales in 2015.

DDF, which operates at both Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International, recorded a total of 26,848,832 sales transactions in 2015, averaging 73,558 per day, it said in a statement.

The retailer witnessed its highest sales for the year in December 2015 when figures reached Dhs 721.87m.

The December sales were fueled by DDF’s 32nd anniversary celebrations when a 25 per cent discount was offered from December 18-20.

Category wise, perfumes continued to be the highest selling category with annual sales reaching Dhs 1.137bn – accounting for 16.5 per cent of total sales.

Liquor came second with sales of Dhs 1.069bn, followed by cigarettes (Dhs 589.67m), confectionery (Dhs 556.14m) and gold (Dhs 549.32m).

Departure sales – accounting for 87 per cent of total sales – reached Dhs 5.989bn last year, DDF said.

Overall the group – which includes the airport retail operation and its leisure division – announced turnover of Dhs 7.057bn for 2015.

Speaking to Gulf Business late last year DDF’s executive vice chairman Colm McLoughlin had confirmed that currency fluctuations and the drop in Russian tourist spend were expected to hit sales in 2015.

However he said the retailer had seen growth in traffic from markets such as Africa and Asia.

He also confirmed that online sales was picking up and that it was anticipated to grow strongly in 2016.

“There is a lot to look forward to in 2016, including the opening of Concourse D at Dubai International, which is a fantastic facility that will be very well received. We have a 7,000 sq metres retail operation in Concourse D and will be introducing some new brands and concepts there,” McLoughlin said.