Party begins early as Dubai Duty Free posts +31% rise in first-half sales to US$537 million – 20/07/08

Confectionery sales rose +38% year-on-year in the first half

UAE. Dubai Duty Free today announced a stunning +31% year-on-year increase in first-half sales to US$537 million – the perfect beginning to the retailer’s 25th anniversary year.

The company said it expects to pass the US$1 billion sales milestone this year. Last year sales reached US$880 million.

Dubai Duty Free began operations on 20 December 1983. It plans a series of major celebrations this December to mark a quarter of a century in business.

Dubai Duty Free Managing Director Colm McLoughlin said: “We are well on track to exceed US$1 billion and that is a great achievement for all involved. There are many exciting things lined up for the operation during the rest of this year, which will culminate on our anniversary day on December 20th.”

One of the highlights of 2008 is Dubai Duty Free’s new Warehouse and Distribution Centre in Ramoul which began operations in June. This will become the centralized warehouse and distribution centre for the operation. The 27,000sq m facility, which features a semi-automated retrieval and storage system, is the largest of its kind in the Middle East.

All that glitters really is gold – the category posted a +40% rise in first-half revenues

Next door to that facility is Dubai Duty Free’s new head office, which covers some 6,000sq m and features office space, training facilities and a purpose-built auditorium. The move to the new head office has already begun and will continue over coming weeks.

In preparation for the imminent airport expansion at Dubai International Airport, Dubai Duty Free has increased its staffing levels by +50% in recent months to the current 3,000. The opening of Concourse 2 and Terminal 3 will result in an additional 10,000sq m of retail space for Dubai Duty Free.

“The past year has seen the operation gear-up for the great plans ahead and we are looking forward to seeing these come to fruition,” McLoughlin added.

Fragrances remained the dominant category through the first half, with sales rising by +34% in the first half to US$75 million. Gold retained its number three slot with sales of US$62 million, a +40% increase year-on-year. Other notable increases in sales were seen in Electronics (up +28%), confectionery (+38%) and cosmetics (+39%).

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