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Sun 20 Nov 2011 11:36 AM

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DDF plans hiring spree to staff airport expansion

Retailer to hire 1,000 employees ahead of launch of third concourse at Dubai Airport

DDF plans hiring spree to staff airport expansion
Dubai Duty Free is the worlds largest airport retailer

Dubai Duty Free, the world’s biggest duty free retailer, plans to recruit 1,000 staff next year in preparation for the launch of its outlets at Dubai Airport’s third concourse, its CEO has said.

The expansion, which is set to house Emirates’ A380 superjumbo fleet, includes some 8,000 sq m of retail space selling items such as perfumes, cosmetics, gold and jewellery.

“Our next big number recruitment will be in readiness for when Concourse 3 opens,” Colm McLoughlin told Arabian Business. “We’ll be hiring about 1,000.”

The hiring drive will take DDF’s staff numbers to nearly 5,000.

The retailer this month reported a 16 percent increase in sales for the first ten months of 2011 putting it on track to achieve total sales of $1.45bn by the year-end. 

Sales for the ten months ending October 31 reached $1.16bn with perfume sales accounting for 14.6 percent of the total sales, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday.

Among the top three selling categories this year were perfumes, liquor and gold, with perfume sales increasing by 20 percent to reach AED361m. Average passenger spend is $46, DDF data shows, with half of all travellers making a purchase.

In September, McLoughlin said he planned to expand the retailer’s cosmetics offering as Dubai Airport grows, to cater for surging demand among passengers.

“Our single biggest category at the moment is perfume, and yes, it is bigger than gold,” he said.

“So we are talking there about duplicating our perfume and cosmetics [section].”

Dubai in July said it would spend $7.8bn on expanding its airports as it seeks to turn Dubai International into the world’s busiest airfield.

DDF said in August it would part-finance the building of a fourth concourse at the airport, in its first large-scale infrastructure investment. The tie-up is valued at about AED28bn, and will be funded by cashflow, McLoughlin said.

Thousands more employees would be needed for the slated 2015 launch, he said, with DDF anticipating some 3,000 new jobs.  

“DDF is going to put 8 or 9,000 sq m of retail space in there,” he said. “We expect by that time... our business to have doubled. We’re projecting sales of about AED10bn, and we’re going to have about 7 or 8,000 people working for us at that time.”

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