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11 December 2023

Dubai Duty Free to post double-digit sales growth

By Maha Obeid




Retail sales at Dubai Duty Free (DDF) are expected to exceed Dh3 billion this year, a 26 per cent increase over last year’s figure, driven by gold and must-haves such as perfume.


The figure also represents the second consecutive double-digit increase after 2006 revenues topped the previous year’s by 20 per cent.

Colm McLoughlin, managing director of Dubai Duty Free, said: “We expect to end the year with sales of $850 million (Dh3.1bn), which is 26 per cent above our sales figure of $712m (Dh2.6bn) in 2006.”

Perfumes accounted for 14 per cent of the sales, the largest at DDF. At the end of November, the total sales figure was around Dh385m. Gold accounted for 11 per cent of sales, with about Dh313m worth of gold sold in the same period.

McLoughlin said the figures reflected an overall increase in duty free sales in the UAE. Abu Dhabi Duty Free has seen a steady and robust growth of around 30 per cent throughout the year, over the previous year’s figures. It had a 28 per cent increase in the first quarter, a 33.26 per cent increase in the second quarter and a 32.7 per cent increase in the third quarter.

“Perfumes continue to be the highest selling category – a trend seen throughout the year,” McLoughlin told Emirates Business. At the end of November, sales of watches and clocks were up 40 per cent, men’s fashion increased by 64 per cent, and handbags and leather surged 87 per cent.

He said the outlook is positive for next year and a further increase in sales of about 20 per cent is expected, taking sales to more than Dh3.5 billion.

“We expect sales to increase by a further 19.5 per cent next year and we will end the year with figures of $1bn (Dh3.67bn) – we are very excited about this major milestone.”

Dubai Duty Free was launched in December 1983. From just a series of small shops at the airport, it has expanded steadily and next year it will double its retail area from 7,000 sq m to 15,000 sq m when the new Concourse Two and Terminal Three open in May.

“We are busy recruiting an additional 1,000 staff,” said McLoughlin.

Meanwhile, sales at Dubai Duty Free are expected to top Dh40 million today, as the retailer celebrates its 24th anniversary with a 24 per cent discount on most products.

Each anniversary is celebrated with a discount matching the number of years, as it increases the number of travellers scheduling their trips to take advantage of the offer. The discount applies to the arrivals and departures stores and is on most of the products, except gold and electronics.

Salah Tahlak, director, corporate communications, Dubai Duty Free, said last year’s anniversary takings were Dh29.5m, and this year sales are expected to exceed Dh40m.


DDF is headed by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Airports Company and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

In October DDF was named “Airport Retailer of the Year 2007” for a fifth time at the Frontier Awards in Cannes.

It will expand operations to Dubai World Central International Airport at Jebel Ali, the first phase of which is to open in early 2009. In the initial phase, DDF will operate a retail area that will be about 3,000 sq m.

The first quarter of 2008 will see the opening of its new, dedicated Warehouse and Distribution Centre.

The centre covers about 27,000 sq m and will include a 6,000 sq m office, which will become DDF’s new headquarters.