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Thu 22 Dec 2011 12:58 PM

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Dubai Duty Free breaks records with $24m sales in a day

World's biggest airport retailer gave 20% discount on number of goods to mark its 28th anniversary

Dubai Duty Free breaks records with $24m sales in a day
Colm McLoughlin says he wants to expand cosmetics and perfumes offerings in line with sales growth (ITP Images)

Dubai Duty Free reported its best ever daily revenues on Wednesday, breaking records with AED86.75m ($24m) worth of sales in a 24-hour period, the company said.

The airport retailer, which is the biggest in the world, gave a 20 percent discount on a number of goods to mark its 28th anniversary, triggering a spending spree among travellers.

Some 131,000 transactions were recorded by DDF, with perfumes, watches, cosmetics and electronics among the top selling productions.

“Achieving sales of this magnitude in a 24-hour period is obviously fantastic for Dubai Duty Free," said CEO Colm McLoughlin. "The sales are a new daily record, and substantially higher than our first full year of business, 1984, when our annual sales reached $20 million.

“We began introducing a discount offer across a wide range of merchandise on our 20th anniversary in 2003 and it has since become a popular day [for shopping] with travellers.”

The statistics for the day showed that perfumes were the highest selling category, with sales of AED32.47m ($8.9m), representing 37 percent of the day’s total.

Watches were the second most popular item with revenues of AED17.79m ($4.87m), and cosmetics came in third with sales of AED7.1m ($1.94m).

Electronics products topped fifth position at AED3.64m ($996,135) worth of transactions, boosted by demand for the latest technology gadgets.

Gold, which was previously one of the three most popular categories, recorded AED2.18m ($596,000) of sales, ladies handbags totaled AED1.15m ($314,000) and men’s fashion hit AED936,944 ($256,696).

The festive shopping boom follows a spate of strong sales announcements by the retailer, which has seen continued growth throughout the year.

In November DDF reported a 16 percent increase in sales for the first ten months of 2011, putting it on track to achieve its target total sales of $1.45bn by the year-end.

It plans to recruit 1,000 staff next year in preparation for the launch of Dubai Airport’s third concourse, which will have 8,000 sq m of retail space.

McLoughlin said he planned to expand the retailer’s the perfume and cosmetics offering as the airport grew to cater for the 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].”

DDF is also part-financing the building of a fourth concourse at the airport in AED28bn deal. It will require around new 3,000 employees to staff its retail operations there in 2015.

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