Iraq Duty Free expands brand portfolio in 2019; targets 25% turnover growth

By Andrew Pentol |

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Fouad Jabbour, General Manager, Iraq Duty Free says the retailer is targeting turnover growth of around 25% in 2019.

Iraq Duty Free is targeting year-on-year turnover growth of around 25% in 2019. 

Last year, turnover increased around +22% compared to 2018 and this year started well with turnover up +17% between January and August compared to the same period last year. This was driven by strong performance across the retailer’s two major categories which are perfumes and cosmetics and confectionery. Liquor and tobacco rank third and fourth respectively.

Fouad Jabbour, General Manager, Iraq Duty Free told TRBusiness:  “We’re expanding our brand portfolio and have introduced Givenchy and Kenzo in 2019, along with Dolce & Gabbana, Elie Saab, Narciso Rodriguez and Issey Miyake.”

Jabbour also revealed the renovation of its stores in the International Airlines Terminal at Baghdad Airport commenced earlier this year.

“We recently finalised the arrivals duty free store and will hopefully begin the revamp of the departures shop in January 2020 and have it up and running by next March.”

BASRA ARRIVALS PROJECT

Over in Basra, Iraq Duty Free is working on a project to increase its arrivals shop from 25sq m to 72sq m. This is being undertaken with the support of the Civil Aviation Authority and the General Manager of Basra International Airport, according to Jabbour.

“The expanded arrivals shop will have the same identity as our other airport stores. In addition, we will open another departures shop located in the Emirates Airlines terminal at Basra Airport.”

As the calendar year draws to a close, Jabbour believes consumers have more trust in the products being offered in the retailer’s stores. “They trust our products to be original, authentic items which come directly from suppliers. Passengers have more trust in the products they purchase in duty free than those bought on the local market.”

Serving the same customers on a regular basis — Iraqis and expats living in Iraq— is something Iraq Duty Free has become used to. “Iraqi airports are not a place where people transit and do not welcome high numbers of tourists.

“What we can say is that the Iraqis and expats are improving their purchases and have more products to choose from.”

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Turnover rose +17% between January and August 2019 compared to the same period last year.

He added: “We don’t have new people coming to Iraq to help us increase sales. Those that do come are businessmen or businesswomen who attend meetings and then travel again. Other customers are Iraqis and expats living in Iraq.”

Consistently entertaining these customers with offers, support and high levels of customer service is among the internal challenges facing the business. “This will ensure they keep coming back and continue purchasing,” Jabbour concluded.

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