x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dubai Duty Free predicts revenue rise

Dubai Duty Free, which was recently named the UAE's top "superbrand", expects revenues to more than double to Dh12.5 billion by 2020.

Sales of perfume and giant Toblerones are adding up for Dubai Duty Free, which expects revenues to hit Dh12.5 billion (US$3.4bn) by 2020, more than double its current takings.

The company employs 4,000 staff, but also aims to double this by 2020, said Colm McLoughlin, the managing director of Dubai Duty Free (DDF).

“The projections for the airport, if you look up to 2020, [is] 98 million passengers in the year. And Dubai Duty Free, at that time, is expecting sales of about Dh12.5 billion,” he said. “By 2020 we will probably have 7,000 or 8,000 staff.”

DDF last year reported revenues of Dh4.6bn, and forecasts sales of more than Dh5bn this year. It reported sales of Dh2.5bn in the first half of this year, a 16.6 per cent rise over the same period last year.

The company, which runs the world’s largest duty-free operation, plans to open up to 84,000 square metres of additional retail space to cater for the expansion of Dubai’s airports.

Dubai International Airport aims to spend $7.8bn on expansion over the next 10 years, and is set to become the world’s largest airport.

Mr McLoughlin said DDF would open 8,000 sq metres of retail space at the Concourse 3 development, which would be completed next year.

In addition, it was examining plans for up to 12,000 sq metres of space at Concourse 4.

DDF also has plans to open a retail space at the new Al Maktoum International Airport, which is located at the heart of the Dubai World Central development.

“We have a small duty-free built and ready to go there. It’s just a case of staffing it. They’re projecting some passenger traffic through 2012,” said Mr McLoughlin. “Eventually the plan there is for 64,000 sq metres of retail space.”

To handle this growth, DDF has signed a Dh70 million deal to improve the logistics of its distribution centre, Mr McLoughlin said.

“Airport retailing is certainly something that is moving forward,” said Stuart Gissing, the regional director for the Middle East and North Africa region at the brokerage Colliers International. “I think it is fairly realistic,” he added in reference to DDF’s sales predictions.

On Monday DDF was named the UAE’s top “superbrand” for the second year in a row. In what was billed as the Oscars of branding, DDF placed ahead of 52 other UAE companies that were also named superbrands.

Mr McLoughlin said he preferred to “keep it simple” in building the DDF brand.

“We have 4,000 staff. Part and parcel of their training is to talk about the duty-free as if it is their own. And they do that,” he said. “We keep it simple, we don’t change our logo, we don’t change our brand. The important thing is that we offer our customers good service, and we adhere to the old adage that the customer is king.”