It wasn’t quite gold, frankincense and myrrh, but purchases of gold, perfume and make-up during a record festive period helped the world’s biggest duty free shop to hit Dh7 billion in sales last year.
The 7.3 per cent year on year increase was helped by a new monthly sales record of Dh749 million in December, Dubai Duty Free said.
Perfume sales surpassed Dh1bn for the year, contributing the most – 17 per cent – to Dubai Duty Free’s total sales. More than half a billion dirhams worth of gold was bought last year by passengers and Dh539m was spent on sweets and chocolates. Cosmetics sales rose by 19 per cent to Dh531m, accounting for almost 8 per cent of annual sales.
Thousands of passengers thronged the aisles of Dubai Duty Free between December 18 and 20 as the retailer slashed prices by as much as 25 per cent on the busiest weekend of the year, spending Dh188m during the 72-hour period.
“Over the anniversary weekend, the cash registers recorded a total of 405,407 sales transactions with 205,485 sales transactions alone on the anniversary day itself, 20th December,” it said. “The operation recorded a staggering 26,995,367 sales transactions in 2014, which is an average of 73,960 sales transactions per day across both Dubai International and at Al Maktoum International, Dubai World Central.”
Sales in departures – 88 per cent of total sales – increased by 6 per cent, while arrivals sales increased 9 per cent over 2013. Sales at Terminal 3 at Dubai International, which currently accounts for 63 per cent of total sales, increased by 7 per cent year on year.
The retailer is benefiting from the rapid growth of Emirates Airline, which expects to fly 70 million passengers annually by 2020.
Such growth in passenger numbers is the main driver of the expansion of Dubai International Airport, which overtook London Heathrow as the busiest by volume of international traffic last year.
Global duty free and travel retail sales reached a record US$60 billion, in 2013. More than half of that business comes from airport sales.
Dubai Duty Free has more than 5 per cent market share of the global airport duty free business according to Generation Research data and regained its position as the world’s largest single airport retail operation last year, ahead of Seoul Incheon and Singapore Changi.
Dubai accounts for almost half of the airport-based duty free sales in the Middle East.
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