Dubai Duty Free passes 50% of 2022 sales forecast

By Luke Barras-hill |

The dedicated Expo 2020 Dubai store featured in Concourse B.

Dubai Duty Free’s revenues in the first six months of 2022 are tracking above 2021 levels for the same period, TRBusiness has learned.

In an interview in November, the company had shared a US$1.4 billion sales target for 2022 – a year-on-year increase of +43%.

Speaking to TRBusiness for the Top 10 Airports report* – available in the forthcoming June/July e-zine – Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Dubai Duty Free expressed a quiet confidence in the current performance.

“Sales (01 January – 17 June), have reached $720 million, which is 10.45% higher than the same period in 2021.”

The return accounts for a 51.4% share of the full-year 2022 sales estimate.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Dubai Duty Free: “While the spend per head has levelled to around $48, penetration levels over the past 12 months have been 30% higher than 2019.”

Refurbishments helping visibility

Purchasing trends are following 2021, with perfumes netting $126m (17.46%); liquor at $116m (16%); followed by gold with $72m (10%); cigarettes and tobacco at $68.5m (9.52%); and electronics with $55m (7.63%).

Dubai Duty Free has also taken a deeper look at brand and category allocation, using various refurbishment projects as an opportunity to increase exposure, particularly in Concourse D.

“We allocated dedicated promotional space to certain brands such as Guerlain, Glenmorangie, Givenchy and YSL and are highly optimistic that this will help continue our organic growth,” commented McLoughlin.

A dedicated Expo 2020 Dubai store located in Concourse B opened in September 2021, recording $1.5m in sales during the six-month-long expo season (October 2021 – March 2022).

Total expo season sales (October 2021-March 2022) totalled $762 million, fuelled by strong passenger growth into Q1 2022 (+96.8% versus Q3 2021).

In Q4 2021, two Christian Dior stores and a Louis Vuitton shop in Concourses B and A augmented the existing luxury offering, with Cartier set to debut in Concourse B in Q2 this year.

They now rank among the top 5 luxury brands in Dubai Duty Free, with Louis Vuitton in second place, followed by Dior and Cartier in the third and fourth place, respectively, sitting behind Chanel in number one spot.

Elsewhere, Airport visitors can shop for groceries shop at Terminal 3 arrivals with the May 2022 opening of a 24-hour Carrefour store stocking over 3,000 items.

“Exclusivity is also another key component and we are continuously working with suppliers to have regional first or DDF-only products for our customers,” McLoughlin continued. “In addition, we will also continue to build on our digital presence.”

Additional space at Concourse B

After accruing US$976 million in 2021 – a 40% increase compared with 2020 – DDF sales at DXB are currently tracking around 10% above passenger levels.

Spend per head reached a high of $53 in 2021, beating 2019’s pre-pandemic $39.

“While the spend per head has levelled to around $48, penetration levels over the past 12 months have been 30% higher than 2019,” observed McLoughlin: “This is due to a number of factors including pent-up shopping demand by those travelling for the first time since the pandemic, and also because of the development of the retail offer in fashion and other areas.

<strong>Dubai International Airport has revised its full-year passenger traffic forecast.

Dubai International Airport has revised upwards its full-year passenger traffic forecast to 58.3 million passengers.

“Dubai Duty Free returned to profitability as early as January 2021. We continued to invest and progress with brands on their activities throughout the pandemic, and now that passenger numbers are coming back, we are seeing the benefits of this in terms of revenue, and spending remains elevated.”

McLoughlin hints at plans for additional retail space in Concourse B – East and West – a replanning of the fashion and electronics spaces in Concourse D.

Changes and refurbishments are also in the pipeline for Concourse C’s Control Tower.

DXB continued to elevate the customer experience in 2021 through various initiatives including the launch of DXB&more, the region’s first mobile food, beverage and retail ordering service.

The airport reopened Terminal 1 and Concourse D in June 2021 and Concourse A in November ahead of a return to full capacity a month later.

The state-owned operator is currently forecasting full-year traffic of 58.3 million passengers, revised upwards from an earlier forecast of 57 million.

Watch out for the full interview and more on Dubai International Airport’s performance in the June/July e-zine, available soon.

*Dubai International Airport interview by Claire Malcolm.

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