Everything coming up roses for perfume sales

Perfume retailers are savouring the sweet smell of success amid rocketing fragrance sales across the Emirates.

The Fragrance Foundation expects sales of perfumes in the Middle East to triple from $3.5 billion to $10 billion by 2015.
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Perfume retailers are savouring the sweet smell of success amid rocketing fragrance sales across the Emirates.

Executives said floods of tourists and a high rate of perfume consumption per capita in the UAE meant sales were back at levels last reached in the boom before 2008.

Raffi Fattal, the chief operating officer for the Chalhoub Group in Dubai, said sales this year had been "amazing" for the fragrance sector and revenues were up 20 per cent across its brands and distribution arm in the UAE, compared with last year.

Chalhoub is the partner for a number of brands, including Christian Dior and Prada in the Middle East, and also runs its own retail stores, such as Faces.

"When things go well, it goes well for almost everybody," Mr Fattal said. "The malls [in the UAE] are doing well. There's an increasing number of visitors and it's helping us. We are not only relying on the population here."

The amount spent on perfume per person in the Middle East is one of the highest in the world, estimated at US$380 (Dh1,395) each year, according to The Fragrance Foundation Arabia.

"You cannot even say one fragrance is doing better than others," Mr Fattal said.

Dubai Duty Free sales increased 16 per cent to $1.16 billion in the first 10 months of this year, compared with the same period last year, with perfumes the biggest seller, making up 14.6 per cent of total sales.

Osama Rinno, the president of Clarins Middle East, said sales of perfumes, make-up and skin-care products had enjoyed "huge" growth this year and that his revenues were now higher than ever.

"Sales are better than 2008, and that was a record year," Mr Rinno said. "This industry cannot be categorised as high-end luxury in the region. It is part of the habit of consumers to have a fragrance and skin care on a daily basis."

The Fragrance Foundation Arabia estimatesthe Middle East market will almost triple in sales value from $3.5bn last year to $10bn by 2015, as major importers and producers expand their sales and distribution networks.

One such company is Abdul Samad Al Qurashi, a Saudi Arabian retailer established in 1952, which has 23 stores in the UAE and 182 globally. It aims to add 20 stores each year for the next few years.

Sheikh Mohammad Abdul Samad Al Qureshi, the chief executive of the company, said sales had increased so far this year by 20 per cent to US$309m, compared with the first 10 months of last year.

"For sure the purchasing power of the GCC has played an important role," he said.

"We have been launching new products and expanding the number of stores."