UAE. Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm Mcloughlin has aid that the leading travel retailer’s 2021 sales are set to exceed US$700 million this year.
Speaking with The Moodie Davitt Report Founder and Chairman Martin Moodie in a Knowledge Hub session at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo today, McLoughlin said it is “fast forward once more” for the airport retailing powerhouse.
“Business is +16% up from last year, with more and more traffic being announced all the time,” he said. “This year we are certainly going to break US$700 million, so the outlook is positive.”
McLoughlin noted 2020 passenger traffic totalled 27 million, and expects a small increase by the end of this year. “On the overall picture, of course, you cannot be extremely happy with a business that is down -60% from 2019 when our traffic through DXB was 89 million passengers.
“This year we are expecting our sales to be up on last year. In 2019 we had sales of US$2 billion. In 2020 we had US$680 million and this year we are going to have US$710 or US$715 million.”
On another positive note, McLoughlin said that passenger spending at Dubai Duty Free has increased and is “the highest it has ever been”, up from a 2019 figure of approximately US$40 per head to around US$54. He also noted the positive effects of improved relations with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, adding that spending from Saudi visitors is worth an estimated US$280,000 per day since flights resumed.
Highlights of coming months will include the opening of a boutique by French luxury brand Louis Vuitton at DXB in December, as reported. Other major openings planned in a new luxury zone in Concourse B will include collaborations with Cartier, Chanel, Gucci and Dior.
McLoughlin noted the anticipated positive effect of Expo 2022, which was postponed from last year. As reported, the popular Dubai hospitality venue The Irish Village, owned by Dubai Duty Free, opened its doors earlier this month and will operate until 31 March 2022.
McLoughlin underlined the importance of team work, citing the success of Dubai Duty Free’s Home Delivery service which was introduced in July last year and has prompted sales of US$10 million.
He emphasised the retailer’s efforts to ensure the safety of its customers and employees both during and post-COVID crisis and highlighted Dubai Duty Free’s staffing strategy.
From 6,000 in 2019, employee numbers have dropped to around 2,500. He said the retailer is recruiting again but remains determined to reemploy staff members who were furloughed, or lost their jobs, before taking on newcomers. He predicted that employee numbers could reach 4,000 by the end of the year.
McLoughlin also noted the return of the hugely popular Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup, which will take place on 24-25 November, following the MEADFA Conference (hosted by Dubai Duty Free) on 22-23 November.