Dubai Duty Free recalls 2,000 laid-off workers as sales hit $1bn

Airport retailer Dubai Duty Free has recalled 2,000 of its laid-off workers as sales doubled to more than $1 billion in the first eight months of 2022 due to heavy passenger traffic.

Total revenue for the January-August period jumped 104% to $1.06 billion, putting the retailer on track to hit the $1.6 billion target by the end of the year, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

Traffic at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Al Maktoum International Airport has resumed this year, with an estimated passenger recovery of nearly 70% of pre-COVID levels. This resulted in increased sales for the airport retailer.

Sales generated by departing passengers from the two airports, which account for 88% of total sales, posted a 115% increase from a year ago, reaching $927 million. Sales from Terminal 2 increased by 59%, while sales in all concourses also increased significantly.

“We have had a fantastic year so far and I am delighted that we have recovered over 80% of our business from January to August, when passenger recovery is around 67% of 2019 levels,” said Colm. McLoughlin, Executive Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.

“We have now recalled nearly 2,000 of our laid-off employees and our current headcount is approaching pre-COVID numbers,” he said.

Dubai Duty Free’s workforce has now grown to 4,407, including 58 new Emirati recruits.

Popular products

The best sellers for the first eight months of the year were perfumes, alcohol, gold, cigarettes/tobacco and electronics.

At least $186 million worth of fragrances flew off the shelves, recording sales growth of 89%, while alcohol sales hit $168 million, accounting for 16% of total revenue.

Travelers grabbed $106 million in gold, recording a sales growth of 181%, as well as $98 million in cigarettes/tobacco, up 9%. The value of electronic goods sold reached $81 million, up 79%.

Fashion items recorded sales of $130 million, more than triple the previous year’s $41 million.

According to McLoughlin, Dubai Duty Free is heading for a busy sales period for the last quarter.

“And with the next FIFA World Cup starting in November, it will further increase traffic to Al Maktoum International Airport (AMIA) which will handle an additional 30 return flights to Doha during the World Cup,” said he declared.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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