‘Adapt & Survive’: Colm McLoughlin, Dubai Duty Free

By Charlotte Turner |

ADAPT AND SURVIVE - Colm460x306While Colm McLoughlin is unsure when Dubai Duty Free’s stores will reopen, after closing on 25 March, he does expect that they will remain closed for at least another month. He also divulges that since the company closed its stores, revenue is down Dhs 880 million/$240m compared with this time last year. 


In this episode of the Adapt & Survive series, McLoughlin confirms that Dubai has increased lockdown for its citizens for a further week, but he expects it to continue for a lot longer as the world faces a race against time to find a vaccine.


“There are over 7,000 cases in the UAE currently, but it’s being controlled very well,” he told TRBusiness. “111 of our DDF staff have tested positive for the virus. Three are in hospital and 58 are under the department of health’s isolation. We have been able to test 3,500 members of our staff so far.”


He revealed that the company is still making Dhs 100,00/$27,000 each day through the sale of tickets for its ‘Finest Surprise’ and ‘Millennium Millionaire’ draws: “We’re taking about Dhs 100,000 dirhams every day, but we should be taking Dhs 20 million a day,” said McLoughlin.


“But we’re living with it. All our staff are on standby, they’re all being paid in full. We have no prediction of how long this is going to go on for. If I was to guess I would say that we’re certainly going to be closed for the next month or so.”



Around 500 members of staff are currently overseas, unable to get back and on an extended leave period. However, through an in-house web portal called ‘My DDF’ McLoughlin has been able to share a message with all his staff, wishing them well. “I’m told that 3,500 people have watched it so far,” he said. “All of them are very positive about returning to work and they are very confident in the actions that have been taken by the various authorities in Dubai so far.”

He explained that October’s Expo 2020, which was due to draw a record number of foreign to Dubai, is more than likely going to be cancelled.

Adapt and Survive asks members of the travel retail industry community, often working from home, for their candid commentary on the constantly evolving Covid-19 pandemic.

The video series is a direct response to the industry’s critical need for direct, factual and analytical commentary and – in typical TRBusiness fashion – interprets clearly and concisely the challenges faced by travel retail during Covid-19.

To register your interest in the Adapt and Survive series, please contact one of the editorial team at the following addresses: [email protected][email protected][email protected].


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