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Tue 30 Oct 2018 07:22 AM

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Dubai Duty Free sales expected to reach $2bn in 2018

Dubai Duty Free's expansion at Dubai International and an increase in Chinese travellers played key roles in the sales figure

Dubai Duty Free sales expected to reach $2bn in 2018
Dubai Duty Free executive vice chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin

Retail sales at Dubai Duty Free (DDF) are expected to reach $2 billion this year, according to executive vice chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin.

In a statement to Arabian Business, McLoughlin said the expansion of Dubai International Airport played a key role behind the figure.

“Based on our sales so far, we expect to reach $2 billion in sales this year, and we’re very excited about that,” he said.

"There are many factors behind that growth, including the ongoing expansion and development of our retail operation in Dubai International in particular, where we have had major ongoing development over the past year, most of which will come to fruition by the end of this year."

McLoughlin revealed the airport has also been welcoming more Chinese passengers.

“We are also seeing an increase in passengers from China and we are engaging more with them prior to their travel as a result of marketing promotions with the likes of C-Trip (China’s largest travel operator),” he said.

The top products sold at DDF so far this year are liquor, perfumes, tobacco, cosmetics and electronics respectively. They were followed by watches, gold, confectionery, delicacies and handbags and small leather items.

However, due to a strong dollar to which the dirham is pegged, DDF reported a fall in sales and revenues for the second year in a row at the city’s two airports Dubai International and Al Maktoum International.

Sales at DDF outlets in both airports dropped 3.2% to $1.8bn last year from $1.9bn a year earlier. The 2015 figure, which showed a 1.5% decline from 2014, was the first fall in revenue in more than two decades.

On the other hand, Dubai International saw a 7% uptick in passenger traffic in the first 11 months of 2017, welcoming 75.9 million travellers. In February last year, it revealed 7,000 square metres of retail at Concourse D, which accounted for 17% of overall sales, generating almost $300 million in sales.

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