DDF reaches $2.16 billion sales record in 40th year

By Luke Barras-hill |

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Dubai Duty Free.

Dubai Duty Free (DDF) today (4 January) reported an all-time record sales haul of Dhs7.885 billion/US$2.16 billion in 2023, representing an increase of +24.4% year-on-year.

The result is 6.4% up on the travel retailer’s previous record of $2.029bn set in 2019 before the pandemic.

Perfumes, liquor, gold, cigarettes & tobacco, and electronics led the pack as the top five categories by sales.

Retaining its position in number one spot with a 17% share of total annual sales was perfume, which generated Dhs1.366 billion (US$374m).

This was followed by liquor at Dhs1.130 billion (US$310m), a 14% slice of sales; gold with Dhs773,506m (US$212m), 10% of total revenue; cigarettes & tobacco in fourth with Dhs745,694m (US$204m) 9% of total revenue; and electronics with Dhs628m (US$172m), accounting for 8% of total yearly sales.

Online sales accounted for 2% of the overall total to reach Dhs164m (US$45m).


Nov/Dec 2023 issue

Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin was the cover star of the November/December 2023 edition of TRBusiness.

December sales top $220m

DDF’s departure sales reached Dhs7.062bn (US$1.93bn), representing 90% of total yearly sales, while arrivals sales clocked in at Dhs612m (US$168m), an 8% slice of the overall figure.

The operation that celebrated a nostalgic two-decade anniversary in December, from humble beginnings in 1983 to surpassing $2 billion in sales, notched more than 20 million sales transactions throughout the year.

This equated to an average of 55,000 sales transactions per day, with 55.2 million units of merchandise sold.

India cemented its position as the leading source market by sales for DDF, accruing Dhs973m (US$266 million).

In second place was Russia with Dhs759m (US$208m), followed by China at Dhs564m (US$154m), Saudi Arabia at Dhs512m (US$140m), and the UK at Dhs373m (US$102m).

In line with promotions to celebrate its 40th anniversary, DDF finished December with a sales haul of dhs807.6m (US$221 million) – an 8.4% jump compared with 2022.

The operation had offered a 25% discount on 20 December, triggering a shopping spree that resulted in spending of US$14.8 million over 24 hours.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are thrilled to have achieved our target sales for the year, a record month in December and a record year in 2023, which culminated with our celebrations of our milestone 40th anniversary.

“Overall, it has been a fantastic year and I would like to thank our Chairman H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum for his unwavering support. Thanks also to our great team of staff, our suppliers, the media and, of course, our customers, for their contribution to our continued growth and success over four decades.”

As DDF has made clear on several occasions in the past, the rehiring and recruitment of staff since the pandemic has played an important role in the organisation’s recovery trajectory and this was duly continued last year as its total employee headcount reached 5,500.

Above and below: Retaining its position in number one spot with a 17% share of total annual sales was perfume, which generated Dhs1.366 billion (US$374m).

Throughout the year, the operation earned recognition through 18 awards, picking up gongs from Business Traveller Middle East, Gulf Business and Global Traveler.

DDF was also named a finalist for ‘Best Sustainable Initiative 2023’ in the consumer-voted Global Travel Retail Awards and Colm McLoughlin earned several personal achievements, including a ‘Frontier Pioneer’ Award.

Gold recorded sales of Dhs773,506m (US$212m), accounting for 10% of total revenue.

DDF’s revered chief spoke to TRBusiness in an exclusive video interview forming part of a series of special features carried within the November/December edition of this publication.

To watch the video conversation in full, click here and to access more anniversary content, click here.

Further updates to follow…


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