Iraq Duty Free targets total DF sales of $9m in 2018

By Andrew Pentol |


Fragrances comprise around 49% of total Iraq Duty Free business.

Iraq Duty Free (IDF) is targeting total duty free sales of $9m in 2018 across its airport duty free business following the recent re-introduction of the liquor category after government approval.

The category, which accounts for around 29% of total sales, was re-introduced in IDF stores in February after a 13-year absence. The impact was instant with the category driving a year-to-date sales increase of around 25%, according to General Manager Fouad A Jabbour.

He told TRBusiness: “Last year, total duty free sales amounted to $7m. We are confident of reaching our target. The introduction of alcohol makes a massive difference.”

He added: “Alcohol is sold freely in Iraq, but customers like to have a trusted source to obtain it from. They know Iraq Duty Free has partnerships with key international liquor suppliers and that all products are 100% authentic. This is why sales have increased.”


The absence of a sales quota on liquor sales is a significant advantage for IDF, according to Jabbour. “Customers can buy four bottles of liquor, for example and a case of beer or wine and still not be questioned. This also helps increase sales.”

IDF currently operates two departures and two arrivals shops at Baghdad International Airport, one arrivals and one departures outlet at Basra Airport and one departures store at Sulaymaniyah Airport.

Financial Links (operating as IDF in the duty free arena) first signed a contract with the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority and Iraqi Ministry of Transportation to run all Iraqi airport duty free shops in 2004. The agreement was due to expire in 2019, but recently extended until 2029.

Since the opening of the new 135sq m renovated arrivals shop at Baghdad International (Iraqi Airways Nineveh terminal), work has started on the renovation of the terminal’s departures store.

The previous 95sq m arrivals shop, which was not big enough to accommodate all required product categories, closed at the end of December 2017. This forced IDF to manage with its best-sellers until the opening of the expanded store in March.


The reintroduction of the liquor category following government approval has significantly boosted Iraq Duty Free sales.

Jabbour commented: “We have recently closed the Nineveh terminal departures store and opened a temporary location so sales can continue. The temporary store opened on August 10 and will continue until the end of November. The new renovated outlet will open on 1 December.”

Providing further details of the Nineveh terminal departures renovation among others, Jabbour added: “We are renovating the store from scratch. It will have a new look. There will be generic merchandising as well as personalised branding from suppliers.

“In the second quarter of next year we will also begin renovating the departures shop in the Babylon terminal, home to various other international airlines.”


Away from Baghdad, IDF is working on projects in Basra and at three other unnamed airports. “The one main activity we have just finalised is the arrivals shop in Basra,” said Jabbour. “We are closing it down and opening a new shop in a better location with a bigger space and better environment for duty free. The aim is to ensure consumers have a better shopping experience.

“We also have three new airports coming up throughout 2018 and the beginning of 2019, but will not reveal the names until all details have been finalised.”

The overall $2m renovation is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, but it is important to point out this does not just encompass the duty free facilities at the various airports. Jabbour explained: “We also offer a renovation of the airport facilities including the seating areas for customers and travellers. New trolleys are also provided and buses are offered for employees to travel to and from their cars.”

See the Cannes issue of TRBusiness for more on Iraq Duty Free’s ambitious expansion plans.


Confectionery is the second in the sales charts  for Iraq Duty Free comprising around 38% of total business.








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