Dubai Duty Free retail sales now the world's best

Dubai Duty Free retail sales now the world's best
Published: 18 July 2017 - 11 a.m.
By: ArabianBusiness.com

Retail sales per square metre in Dubai Duty Free (DDF) stores now surpass Apple’s best performing store in New York, its CEO has revealed.

Sales at DDF's outlets are more than double compared to other duty free outlets in the world, according to Colm McLoughlin, CEO of the airport retail giant.

The DDF reported sales of $1.82 billion (AED6.67bn) last year compared to $1.87bn (AED6.89bn) in 2015, registering 74,097 sales transactions on average per day across its outlets in Dubai International and Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC).

Speaking to Dubai Eye on Monday morning, Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman and CEO of DDF, said that retail sales per square metre in DDF reached $70,000 (AED256,900) per square metre (sqm) per annum compared to $34,000 (AED124,780) per sqm pa on average in the duty free industry across the world.

A comparison of the DDF return on sales figure with other major departmental and retail operations around the global revealed DDF retail space even performed better than Apple’s top performing store on Fifth Avenue in New York, which is considered to be the world's best. 

“When we found these figures, we did a study as to how much other department and retail operational around the world do. The highest we found was an Apple store on Fifth Avenue in New York, which last year had a return of $66,000 (AED242,220) per sqm per annum… so we are better than that.”

McLoughlin disclosed that sales at the Apple-only shops in DDF, though manned by DDF staff, went up by 51 percent last year with total sales reaching $65.39 million (AED240m).

DDF, the single largest airport in the duty free business in the world, expects sales to reach $3bn (AED11bn) by 2020, McLoughlin said, adding, its retail space will reach 80,000 square metres by 2022 - more than double the current space. It will then have 9,000 to 10,000 staff on its payrolls.

While McLoughlin termed value added tax (VAT) as a “good move”, he said the DDF may consider revising prices if it is required.

“While some people might moan and groan about it, I think VAT will be good for Dubai Duty Free because it will indicate that better value can be offered. If we find our value has eroded and if we find that operations can adjust, we will adjust our prices if we have the room to do it,” the CEO added.

In April, DDF senior vice president, finance, Bernard Creed, told Arabian Business they were hoping products sold at Dubai airports will remain exempted from VAT.

He added that the company, a subsidiary of Investment Corporation of Dubai, was also working with Dubai Airports and external consultants to “better understand” the tax regime before any formal consultation with the UAE Finance Ministry.

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