Dubai Duty Free sales hit $1.73bn in 2022 as travel rebounded

Airport retailer recorded a 78% increase in sales compared to 2021 and surpassed its $1.4 billion sales forecast for the year

A perfumes and cosmetics shop in Concourse B of Dubai International Airport. Photo: Dubai Duty Free
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Dubai Duty Free increased its annual sales in 2022 by 78 per cent to reach Dh6.34 billion ($1.73 billion), beating its own forecast, amid a surge in passenger traffic through the world's busiest international airport.

The airport retailer exceeded its annual sales forecast of Dh5.1 billion ($1.4 billion) for last year, signalling a strong recovery of its operations following two challenging years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are thrilled to announce such a positive year as travel returns, during which the operation went from strength to strength,” Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and chief executive of Dubai Duty Free, said in a statement on Monday.

The increase in sales came as passenger traffic through Dubai International Airport recovered strongly from the effects of the pandemic that hammered global demand for air travel.

Dubai Airports expects 64.3 million passengers travelled through Dubai International Airport in 2022, about 3 per cent more than its last annual forecast in August of 62.4 million passengers, after a strong third quarter and expectations of surging volumes in the last three months of the year.

To keep up with the growth of its operations, Dubai Duty Free continued rehiring and recruiting staff last year with the total employee count now at 4,663, up from 4,000 employees in January 2022.

Last year, the airport retailer recorded more than 17.3 million sales transactions throughout the year, or an average of 46,912 sales deals per day, the statement said. It sold 47.302 million units of merchandise.

Dubai Duty hired more staff in 2022 to cope with the growth of its operations. Photo: Dubai Duty Free

Perfumes were the best-selling items again in 2022 with sales of Dh1.13 billion, accounting for 18 per cent of total sales.

Sales of liquor, gold, cigarettes, tobacco and electronics followed.

Liquor sales reached Dh1.021 billion and accounted for 16 per cent of total annual sales. Gold recorded sales of Dh629.29 million and contributed 10 per cent towards total revenue.

Cigarettes and tobacco came in fourth place with sales amounting to Dh562.35 million, accounting for 9 per cent of total revenue, while electronics came in fifth place, with sales of Dh502.20 million, or 8 per cent of total annual sales.

Online sales accounted for 2.54 per cent of the overall sales tally for 2022, reaching Dh161.2 million.

Sales in the airport departures area across the operation totalled Dh5.57 billion, representing 88 per cent of total annual revenue.

Passenger arrival sales totalled Dh573.38 million, accounting for 9 per cent of total annual sales.

“Looking ahead, Dubai Duty Free will continue to maintain its busy events and promotional calendar which includes the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships,” it said.

Updated: January 02, 2023, 3:24 PM