Company: Dubai Duty Free
Country of residence: Ireland
Colm McLoughlin is a stalwart of the airport duty free concept, hailing from the very first in Ireland, which he joined in 1969. As executive vice-chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free (DDF), which he helped to set up in 1983, McLoughlin has achieved momentous success in airport retailing. So much so that the Dubai duty free concept has been replicated around the world.
DDF recorded $1.85bn worth of sales last year, compared to $20m in its inaugural year of business in 1984. That makes it the most successful retailer in the world, with more sales per square metre than even Apple’s best performing store in New York, McLaughlin revealed this year. Sales at DDF are more than double that of other duty free outlets globally.
McLoughlin oversees a whopping 36,000 square metres of retail space at Dubai International Airport and another 2,500sqm at Al Maktoum International, which is set to grow to 80,000sqm.