QDF reports +1% sales lift after ‘toughest year’ on record

By Luke Barras-hill |


TRBusiness was on location at the Royal Mougins Golf & Resort earlier this month.

Qatar Duty Free (QDF) Vice President Operations Thabet Musleh has labelled a +1% sales increase in 2017 as ‘fantastic’ in the context of one of the most challenging years in the country’s aviation history.

In an exclusive interview with TRBusiness Deputy Editor Luke Barras-Hill, Musleh said the Hamad International Airport-based travel retailer is now witnessing double-digit year-on-year growth [correct as of early October when the interview was conducted].

“Due to the blockade we finished +1% on sales compared to the previous year, which was phenomenal,” Musleh commented.


The result owes much to some strong performances from its brands, which have adapted well to new passenger demographics using the airport.

“Spend per head and ATV (average transaction value) is continuing to grow across most categories; perfumes & cosmetics is performing really strongly, we’re seeing a huge uplift from Asian passengers in Asian trends such as face masks,” Musleh continued.

During the interview, The QDF Head touched on the launch of its pre-order service with Qatar Airways in January and praised Qatar Duty Free’s strengthened partnerships with its suppliers.

“All of our suppliers have helped us in bringing innovation and being agile; it [the blockade] has been very tough, we’ve had to re-route shipping channels and really work on how we get stock to Doha, let along selling stock on the shop floor.

“They have also really helped us to be more adaptable to new markets that have appeared: We’ve got some other surprises and world exclusives coming to Qatar Duty Free in the next two to three months.”

For more on Qatar Duty Free’s 2017 performance, including background on the diplomatic blockade that resulted in severed diplomatic ties with five of Qatar’s neighbours, click here.


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