Dubai Duty Free enjoyed its best sales year ever in 2011, maintaining its position as the world's biggest airport retailer.
Record year for Dubai Duty Free
Dubai Duty Free expects to double its sales to more than Dh10 billion (US$2.72bn) by 2018, having reached record heights last year as millions of tourists visited the emirate.
The airport retailer enjoyed its best sales performance yet last year, with revenues up 15 per cent to Dh5.3bn. Colm McLoughlin, the executive vice chairman, predicted sales this year would touch Dh6bn.
"We can look back on 2011 as a great year in which the operation went from strength to strength and sales soared to a new high," he said. "Our retail operations are positioned well in the airport, we offer good value and we have a very good team of staff. We expect to double our sales from this year's level in about 2018."
Last year's figures maintain Dubai Duty Free's position as the single largest airport retailer in the world in terms of turnover.
Mr McLoughlin said nearly 50 per cent of passengers leaving the airport buy from duty free, compared with about 20 per cent in other major aviation hubs.
The retailer recorded more than 22.4 million sales transactions with an average of more than 61,000 sales purchases per day at an average transaction value of US$48 (Dh176).
Dubai Duty Free benefited, along with the rest of the retail market in Dubai, from an influx of free-spending tourists from Russia and China.
The emirate was also helped by the Arab Spring, which persuaded many tourists to holiday in Dubai rather than elsewhere in the region.
Dubai International Airport handled 46 million passengers in the first 11 months of last year, a 7.8 per cent increase on the same period a year earlier.
The total number of hotel guests in Dubai increased 11 per cent to 6.64 million in the first nine months of the year, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to government figures.
"It has been a fantastic year for Dubai Duty Free," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and the chairman of Dubai Duty Free. "The entire team has worked hard to maintain its position as the single largest airport retailer in the world in terms of turnover and I congratulate them on this great achievement."
Perfume sales were the biggest seller for Dubai Duty Free last year, increasing 22 per cent to Dh803 million, compared with 2010, and contributing 15 per cent to total sales.
Many perfume and cosmetics retailers across the Middle East have reported robust increases in sales, driven by a rebound in sentiment and the sale of new additions and products.
Alcohol sales and gold also continue to contribute a high proportion of turnover at Dubai Duty Free, increasing 18 per cent to Dh744m and 20 per cent to Dh591m, respectively.
Sales at Terminal 2 increased 34 per cent, the greatest amount of Dubai airport's three terminals. Terminal 1 sales rose by 15 per cent and Terminal 3, which serves Emirates Airline and currently accounts for 60 per cent of total sales, increased by 14 per cent.
Turnover at Dubai Duty Free is expected to continue to grow as the airport embarks on a $7.8bn expansion plan designed to increase its annual capacity from 60 million passengers to 90 million by 2018.