Abu Dhabi Duty Free registered a rise in revenues of more than 17 per cent in the first half of this year as an increase in passenger traffic and additional retailers brought in soaring sales.
The airport retailer’s revenues reached Dh437.6 million in the period, an increase of more than Dh108 million compared with the same period a year earlier.
The increase was due to a number of factors, not the least of which was Etihad Airways’ growing network, according to Abu Dhabi Airports’ chief commercial officer, Mohammed Abdullah Al Bulooki.
“When you take into account the [effect] Etihad Airways is having, the new partners it’s signing up with, the new airlines themselves which are flying to Abu Dhabi like Kenya Airways, and I hope this year we will announce some more airlines coming to Abu Dhabi,” he said.
Duty-free retailers are also among the first to release new products, making them popular among travellers.
“Whether it’s confectionary, fragrance or any other categories, there are a lot of exclusives that people want to buy,” said Mr Al Bulooki.
Other factors included a growth in spending per passenger, which rose 2.1 per cent compared with the same period a year previously, plus the opening of the new Emporio Armani boutique and expansion of the Burberry store in Terminal 3.
The airport retailer plans to revamp the duty free offering in the main terminal next year, adding new brands and refurbishing some of the stores.
“There is a very good plan coming up in the future but until everything is solid I cannot talk about it. But I can promise that [in the first and second quarters] next year there will be a lot of new products and new brands coming into the airport, as well as some refurbishment of some of the shops which will add space as well as consumer choice,” said Mr Al Bulooki.
“We sell anything from a tin of Nido powder milk all the way up to a Hermès bag. The airport serves the Abu Dhabi community, whether it is blue collar, grey collar or white collar executive management. We serve the community, so we will be launching things that will serve both.”
The airport’s Midfield Terminal, which is scheduled to open in 2017, promises to offer a “duty free experience to be proud of”, said Mr Al Bulooki. “It will be something that is available in some places around the world but very few.”
The new terminal will include 28,000 square metres of retail space and have a capacity to handle up to 30 million passengers a year.
Last year travellers passing through Abu Dhabi spent a record Dh809.5 million on gifts, cigarettes, perfume and many other duty-free items – a rise of more than 24 per cent.