Dubai Duty Free has said its sales rose by 78 per cent to AED 6.339 billion ($1.73 billion) in 2022 compared to 2021.
Year-to-date sales have reached $342 million, a 4 per cent increase over the previous year, from January 1 to February 26.
According to the company’s CEO and executive vice chairman, Colm McLoughlin, Dubai Duty Free is expected to fully recover in sales next year as airport passenger traffic continues to rise due to a recovery in travel demand.
“Overall, the recovery is doing well, and based on the indication and forecast for the traffic growth at the airport, we expect a full rebound by 2024,” Mr McLoughlin said.
Dubai International increased annual passenger traffic by 127 per cent to 66.1 million in 2022, exceeding its own forecast. This year, the world’s busiest airport anticipates 78 million passengers.
Major events such as the COP28 climate conference and the continued recovery in travel demand will drive airport traffic growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the travel industry, with airlines alone losing nearly $220 billion in revenue since the outbreak. As air traffic plummeted during the height of the health outbreak, travel retailers saw their revenue plummet and were forced to reduce their workforce.
With passenger traffic on the rise again, DDF has increased its payroll to nearly 5,000 employees, including 600 rehires and 500 new hires since 2022.
DDF has brought back more than 2,000 employees since September 2021.
“It feels good to see them all back and to welcome the new addition to the company. The recruitment at Dubai Duty Free will continue in line with the growth in our business,” Mr McLoughlin said.
He stated that the primary goal now is to stay ahead of the curve by engaging passengers more effectively.
“These include working with brands through strong activations and travel exclusives and striving for improvements in sustainability and better digital marketing,” Mr McLoughlin said.
“The operation will continue to improve its customer service in order to increase penetration and passenger spending.”
The airport retailer will also carry out development projects, such as renovating a couple of shops in Concourse B West at Dubai International, including the liquor and tobacco sections.
“We are also looking at refurbishing and renovating the second arrivals shop in Terminal 3, while we are keen to renovate the arrivals shop in Terminal 1,” Mr McLoughlin said.