Top 10 sales break $4bn in 2022 as retail operator rankings revealed

By Luke Barras-hill |

CDFG retained number one spot followed by Dufry Group, The Shilla Duty Free, Lotte Duty Free and Lagardère Travel Retail.

The globe’s top 10 DF&TR operators posted combined revenues of approx. US$40.26 billion in 2022 – up 10% year-on-year, according to the TRBusiness Top 10 International Operators report.

Sales of $7.89bn cemented China Duty Free Group’s (CDFG)  position in number one for a third consecutive year, with Dufry Group in close second at $7.43bn.

The Shilla Duty Free, Lotte Duty Free and Lagardère Travel Retail complete the top five in a reshuffling of the annual ranking.

Renewed focus

China’s easing of its travel curbs in January 2023 and subsequent lifting of a ban on group travel in the months that followed has offered new hope to the industry, as several important outbound tourism source markets unlocked in Asia Pacific in the second half of 2022.

However, inflation and the war between Russia and Ukraine continues to apply pressure to the travel ecosystem, influencing pricing and demand mechanics.

Xavier Rossinyol, Chief Executive Officer, Dufry Group.

Notwithstanding this, the travel retailers spoken to for this report comment positively on the industry’s next phase of recovery, but urge proactivity to respond to the increasingly discerning expectations of travellers.

Xavier Rossinyol, Chief Executive of the newly created Dufry/Autogrill entity, told this publication: “Travellers are looking for a more individualised offer of products and services, which cater for their personal needs and preferences at any specific moment of their journey, and with a holistic perspective including both travel retail and duty free.”

He went on to highlight the importance of fulfilling the expectations of Generation Z travellers.

“One of the big trends with next-generation consumer profiles is that of personalisation and access to experiences, which are more tailored, unique and thus relevant for each individual.”

Following its share of the spoils in the Incheon International Airport duty free tender this year, The Shilla Duty Free is focused on consolidating its position as a leading cosmetics travel retailer.

“That success represented the perfect tonic for Shilla, which endured a challenging 2022 despite the uptick in global passengers numbers,” Younghoon Kim, Executive Vice President/Sales HQ, The Shilla Duty Free told TRBusiness.

“China’s lockdown posed a slight setback in profitability [last year], yet we are witnessing improvements in 2023 with the resurgence of travel demand.

Younghoon Kim, Executive Vice President/Sales HQ, The Shilla Duty Free.

“While the travel demand from our Chinese customers is yet to fully recover, we are poised to maximise our sales opportunities in the market.”

Seventh placed Gebr. Heinemann is another seeking to maximise sales this year as it strengthens existing partnerships, enters into new ones and looks to continue diversifying.

“The overall global travel retail market has developed quite positively so far in 2023 – and our sales performance is in line with this,” commented Florian Seidel, Chief Sales Officer, Gebr. Heinemann.

“This is the case for both of our pillars – wholesale and retail – as well as across all sales channels.”

The TRBusiness Top 10 International Operators report and October edition is available to read in print and e-zine format at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes (1-5 Oct).

Click here to read the October 2023 issue.

Click here to read the Top 10 International Operators 2023.

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