x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Abu Dhabi Duty Free reports best sales quarter

Abu Dhabi Duty Free yesterday reported its best sales quarter ever as passenger numbers at the capital's international airport soared in the first three months of the year.

Abu Dhabi Duty Free yesterday reported its best sales quarter ever as passenger numbers at the capital's international airport soared in the first three months of the year.

Total sales, including items such as tobacco, perfume and chocolate, were nearly Dh200 million (US$54.4m) at Abu Dhabi Duty Free in the first quarter, 32 per cent more than in the same period last year.

Abu Dhabi International Airporthandled 22 per cent more passengers in the first quarter than in the same period last year, as tourism continues to be a major driver of the capital's economy.

"The dynamic growth of the first quarter is due to a combination of factors," said Mohammed Al Bulooki, the chief commercial officer at Abu Dhabi Airports Company, which runs the duty-free retailer.

"The completion of Terminal 1 refurbishment in the fourth quarter of 2011 has significantly increased the width and breadth of the range in Terminal 1, which is now at parity with the quality of the retail offer in Terminal 3."

The airport retailer registered sales growth in every product category.

"The company will continue to focus on service, value, width and breadth of range, luxury offering, exclusive brands and launches to drive Abu Dhabi Duty Free to even higher levels of success" said Mr Al Bulooki.

The travel and tourism sector is an increasingly important element of the UAE economy, benefiting the duty-free retailers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Total sales at Dubai Duty Free were up 14 per cent to Dh1.42 billion in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year. The increase was attributable largely to spending on alcohol, perfume and gold.

The travel and tourism sector's contribution to the UAE's GDP is expected to rise to 15 per cent within 10 years and be worth Dh277.8bn annually, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

More than 3.4 million passengers passed through the capital's airport on a total of 29,123 flights in the first quarter. For all of last year, about 12.4 million passengers passed through Abu Dhabi's airport. Authorities hope the flow will increase to 14 million this year. Abu Dhabi Duty Free ended last year with sales of more than Dh650m, a 12 per cent increase on 2010.

rjones@thenational.ae

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