In a video interview heralding four decades of achievement at Dubai Duty Free, the organisation’s much-admired Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin spoke to TRBusiness on the eve of the milestone anniversary in December.
From the operation’s first steps in 1983, to its transformation into a retailing and marketing powerhouse on track to exceed US$2 billion in revenue this year, McLoughlin tells all in a fireside chat with TRBusiness Editorial Director Luke Barras-Hill.
The full interview is carried in the TRBusiness November/December issue as as part of a dedicated report charting 40 years of success for the travel retailer.
In 1983, McLoughlin was one of a team of 10 executives at Irish airport authority Aer Rianta commissioned by the Dubai government to design, build and establish a duty free operation, initially on a six-month contract.
DDF officially opened its doors on 20 December 1983 with a mission to offer passengers first-class customer service, good value and a varied product assortment. First year sales notched US$20 million. Come the end of this year, DDF expects to shatter US$2 billion in duty free sales.
“It’s really difficult to say it’s real because I went to Dubai in 1983 for six months only as part of a team to set up duty free – nowadays, I say I still haven’t finished the job,” McLoughlin told this publication. “During that time I was asked if I would stay on – we’re now 40 years at it.”
Click below to watch the full exchange.