IDFS Morocco revels in ‘remarkable’ arrivals showing

By Andrew Pentol |


IDFS Morocco operates eight units at Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca including a 547.4sq m outlet in Terminal 1 (Level 2).

Moroccan travel retailer International Duty Free Shops Morocco (IDFS), has revealed how the ‘remarkable performance’ of its arrivals shops has significantly contributed to overall company growth.

According to IDFS, which was established in 1989 and currently operates 4,175sq m of retail space across 10 Moroccan airports (Casablanca Mohammed V, Marrakesh Menara, Agadir Al Massira, Tangier Ibn Battouta, Fes Sais, Oujda Angad, Rabat-Salé, Essaouira Mogador, Ouarzazate and Al Hoceima), the arrivals business has posted substantial year-to-date double-digit growth versus last year.

IDFS President, Christopher Tantoco told TRBusiness: “The double-digit growth increase from the arrivals business increases its sales contribution to overall performance. Due to its great sales potential, IDFS is considering opening more arrival shops in other major Moroccan airports.”


The company, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, also reports almost double-digit year-to-date sales growth across its departures business. But not everything has been positive, particularly in Casablanca Mohamed V Terminal 1, where IDFS opened two new shops (395.5sq m and 547.4sq m) in January 2019. The purpose of the new stores was to alleviate some of the pressure in Terminal 2 which was close to capacity.

Casablanca Mohammed V, which handled 10 million passengers in 2018 may be a hub for transit passengers to and from Africa, Middle East and the US among other places, but IDFS operations in Terminal 1 are yet to reach their full sales potential.

Currently, the passenger mix across all IDFS shops is 32% French, 48% other European countries, 5% Africa, 7% Middle and Far East, 4% North America and 4% other Maghreb countries.


Offering duty free exclusives is among IDFS Morocco’s proven business practices.

Tantoco, who cites tobacco as the retailer’s number one sales driver and reports ‘significant performance’ from the confectionery, gifts and travel essentials category commented: “Sales in Casablanca have not fulfilled their potential due to the transition period in terms of the terminal’s operation and the direction of the passenger flow heading to the gates. This is being addressed by the airport authority with a view to improving operations.”

Offering a snapshot of current overall sales performance, Tantoco emphasised: “While our sales have decreased in Casablanca, we have experienced growth in the majority of our airports, whether in departures, arrivals or both. This has given us positive growth overall.”

In the meantime, IDFS is making steady progress on the launch of new technology which will enable it to obtain more accurate data on the DF&TR market. Tantoco said: “In 2019, we launched the first phase of our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for accurate and timely access to reliable information to optimise IDFS business processes.


The fashion offer in the Terminal 1 Level 2 main departures duty free store.

“The second phase, which is estimated to be implemented in 2020 will include a platform to obtain customer information and preferences which can help us tailor-make promotions based on seasons and our market.”


In terms of the company’s digital strategy, Tantoco said: “We have taken steps to improve our digital presence. This year, we launched our website and optimised our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram to reach the ever-changing clientele. There is much more work to be done and we have several improvements in the pipeline, which will be shared in the coming months.”

External challenges include geopolitical events, changing regulations, increasing competition through consolidation, fewer passengers passing through Casablanca Mohammed V Airport than projected and availability of standard and consistent data as the main obstacles.

Casablanca Mohammed V Airport may be handling fewer passengers than projected, but there has been increased numbers of high-spending Chinese travellers arriving in Morocco. This has coincided with the exemption of visa requirements in 2016.


IDFS has reported ‘significant performance’ from the confectionery, gifts and travel essentials category across its entire business.

Tantoco remarked: “We are expecting an increase once the Kingdom’s flagship carrier, Royal Air Maroc begins direct flights between Morocco and China on 16 January 2020.”

In addition to lower than expected passenger numbers and sales in Casablanca, IDFS must contend with competition from fellow incumbent Dufry Group, which inaugurated its new stores at Casablanca Mohammed V and Marrakesh Menara International Airports last week.

Assessing the challenge presented by Dufry Group Tantoco commented: “IDFS is the pioneer of duty free shopping in the Kingdom of Morocco, opening our first shop in Casablanca 30 years ago. Dufry entered in 2002, which has definitely increased competition for market share, but our mission of ensuring we are our customers ‘last good buy before you fly’ has kept us strong.

“Because we are local, we also have the ability to be quick and flexible in responding to customers needs. This has demonstrated IDFS’ agility and resistance.”

View a gallery of images below.


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