QDF reports +32% growth; ‘laser-focused’ on retail

By Luke Barras-hill |

Qatar Duty Free has shared a performance update for its financial year ending 31 December.

Qatar Airways Group CEO Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer has hailed Qatar Duty Free’s (QDF) performance in 2023 after the travel retailer reported sales growth of +32% year-on-year.

In results for the year ending 31 December 2023 issued today (22 January), the Hamad International Airport (HIA) based travel retailer said its turnover was 61% up on 2019.

“Qatar Duty Free marks another year of success driven by a clear vision and a partnership-led approach to its growth,” said Al Meer. “We, at Qatar Airways Group, are proud to witness the remarkable milestones achieved by Qatar Duty Free, which continue to enhance the passenger experience at our hub, Hamad International Airport.”

Al Meer took the reins at Qatar Airways Group last year following the departure of Akbar Al Baker.

Qatar Duty Free Senior Vice President Thabet Musleh added: “Twenty twenty-three has set a new benchmark for Qatar Duty Free. The fact that we have managed to outperform 2022, a year during which we hosted the FIFA World Cup, speaks volumes for how we continue to push ourselves and our partners to deliver memorable experiences.

QDF continues to build on its commitment to offer ‘Something for Everyone’ as it outstripped passenger growth at Hamad International Airport, which welcomed 45.9 million travellers (+31%) in 2023.

“Looking ahead, we’re laser-focused on our vision to offer ‘Something for Everyone’ and convinced that our commitment to ‘Transit Tourism’ – making the airport an integral and enriching part of the travel experience – will differentiate our offer and drive continued growth.”

QDF does not disclose its sales figures, though TRBusiness estimates put its 2022 return in the region of US$875 million – see the Leading Top 10 Operators report 2023 for further information.

As reported, QDF announced growth exceeding +59% year-on-year during its financial year (April 2022 – March 2023) driven by a more than 49% uplift in sales per passenger.

On the basis of the +32% growth notched in 2023, the travel retailer will have likely broken US$1 billion in turnover.

The past 12 months have been characterised by a volley of new shop openings – many of which have been channel ‘firsts’ – plus high-profile campaigns, activations and marketing activities as QDF continued to build its estate of more than 200 retail and dining outlets following a landmark year in 2022 for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Highlights included the opening of the award-winning Louis Vuitton Lounge by Yannick Alléno – TRBusiness was on the ground in Doha providing reporting – plus a newly launched Dolce & Gabbana boutique, a three-day World Chocolate Day campaign with Venchi, a National Lipstick Day campaign with MAC Cosmetics and the unveiling of a brand-new food court boasting five international cuisine concepts.

The travel retailer increased its exposure on the sporting stage with sponsorship of the Qatar Grand Prix and deliver a novel take on the traditional Qatari Souq experience with Souq Al Matar, boasting seven shops and two restaurants.

Orchard, the sprawling commercial precinct at the heart of the central concourse in the North Plaza, marked its one-year anniversary in November.

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