VIDEO: Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, Dubai Duty Free

By Andrew Pentol |

Dubai Duty Free has revealed that things ‘have started a little bit better’ in the early part of this year, following a challenging 2020.

Speaking to TRBusiness in a recent video interview, Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Dubai Duty Free, says the retailer is counting passengers and flights daily, but reveals numbers are way down even on the beginning of last year.

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic did not have an impact on passenger and flight numbers until around March 2020, according to McLoughlin, who revealed sales slumped -65% to $697 million in 2020 from just over $2 billion the previous year.

He added: “Things are positive. Our team of staff are very positive about what is going to happen, as is everyone at Dubai International Airport.”

INCREASED SPEND PER HEAD

On the increased spend per head at Dubai Duty Free versus 2020, McLoughlin, who revealed the retailer’s home-delivery service had generated around $13 million as of 13 January 2021, since its launch last June, commented: “We have found out oddly enough that our sale per head has increased in the bad times that have just gone by.

“In the past few months, our sale per head has increased from $44 to close to $60. We are hoping that continues in the coming year.”

In terms of possible reasons for the increased spend per head, McLoughlin says the retailer is trying to determine if it is due to less congestion in the airport/stores or something else. “We also have a very enthusiastic team of staff who are promoting everything very well. The increased spend per head is a positive trend and we are trying to put our finger on why this has developed.

“Perhaps it is because passengers believe they will not be travelling as frequently and want to use the opportunity to purchase now. Whatever the reason, the result is positive.”

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