- Colm McLoughlin: Year-to-date Al Maktoum International registered sales of over US $14.8 million, accounting for 1.3% of total DDF revenue
- Salah Tahlak: DDF performance during DSS has positive impact on Dubai’s retail sector
- Perfumes, cosmetics, ladies fashion and accessories achieve double digit growth
The Dubai Duty Free (DDF), one of the foundations of Dubai’s retail sector, has a high reputation when it comes to placing Dubai on the map as a year-round family tourism destination. It has also created a firm, longstanding partnership with the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) through its unwavering support to the festivals and celebrations organized by DFRE including the current edition of Dubai Summer Surprises.
In fact, as a Strategic Partner of DFRE, Dubai Duty Free plays a fundamental role in promoting the annual summer extravaganza to companies from around the world through innovative promotions and matchless offers intended at further improving the overall shopping experience of visitors from around the world.
DFRE’s Media Centre spoke to Mr. Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, about the group’s past and uninterrupted association with DSS, its progress and about its future plans and expansions. Mr. Colm McLoughlin noted that to-date, Al Maktoum International has recorded sales of over US $14.8 million, which accounts for 1.3% of the total DDF revenue.
Excerpts from the interview with Mr Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free
The categories which are showing double digit growth include Perfumes (14%) , Cosmetics (26%), Ladies Fashion (21%) and Handbags (40%). All the categories which have witnessed double digit growth this year have seen a strong trend towards Premiumisation.
The summer season at Dubai Duty Free is usually accompanied with a lot of local expatriate travel compared to other periods as schools are closed during this period. An increase in travel within the wider GCC and Middle East region is also seen due to festivities such as Eid which have been falling in the summer season during the recent past. The summer season usually is accompanied by the latest Spring Summer collection in Fashion and Sports as well as a number of important launches and aesthetic improvements in the shop.
You have launched online shopping for passengers to pre-order, can you tell us more about the mechanism of online shopping at DDF and how is the response so far?
We are investing a good deal in e-commerce and in May 2014, DDF launched its new online shopping portal that will also boost DDF sales. At present, DDF customers are able to purchase raffle tickets to DDF’s popular promotions, the Finest Surprise (to win a luxury car and a motorbike) and the Millennium Millionaire to win US$1 million.
In the coming months DDF customers will also have an opportunity to browse our catalogue of selected products with an option to pre-order online. The items pre-ordered will be collected from the airport at the time of travel upon making the payment.
Buying online is obviously a major convenience for travelers who may have limited time to visit the retail offer and we therefore think that this will be a good way to look at incremental sales.
We also do have plans to build native mobile apps for Apple iOS, Android and Blackberry phones that the users can download and install on their phones. This would help them connect to DDF faster and easily navigate to what they want giving them a better user experience from a smartphone as against browsing the webpage on a smartphone.
What is the expected growth in your sales during this DSS?
The ‘Dubai Summer Surprises’ attracts a great many visitors to Dubai and as a result, many of them travel through Dubai International Airport and shop at Dubai Duty Free. Our job is to ensure that we sell to at least 50% of all travelers, so with the increase in passengers, our sales should increase and this is the case.
Can you tell us about your future expansion plans, mainly at Al Maktoum International?
Well, Al Maktoum International opened on October 27th last year so it is early days yet, but so far we have had very positive feedback. The new airport will increase the number of airlines it serves in due course, but from a retail point of view, we have 2,500 square metres of retail space and the product listing there seems to work for the passenger mix but obviously we will continue to monitor this.
Year-to-date, Al Maktoum International has recorded sales of over US$14.8 million, accounting for 1.3% of the total DDF revenue.
In the long-term, there is a retail space allocation for 64,000 square metres and there’s a government edict that Dubai Duty Free will operate all of it. This means Dubai Duty Free will continue to grow.
What are DDF’s strategic approach to meet the needs of Expo 2020?
Dubai is a dynamic city and the successful bid of the UAE for Expo 2020, which will bring in an estimated 25 million passengers during the six month exhibition period, is a testament to the long term strategy that is in place to ensure that the UAE is a global destination.
The increase in the number of visitors expected to travel to Dubai during Expo 2020 will obviously provide us with a great opportunity to showcase our retail offer, to provide travelers with an exceptional range of quality products at value for money prices.
Dubai Duty Free’s marketing plans, which are very much in line with the promotion of the city as a leading business, sports and leisure destination, will continue for the long term. An example of the global reach that can be achieved through marketing is the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is a global event. The TV exposure generated by this year’s tournament is independently valued at US$718 million.
DDF performance during DSS
Separately, in response to a question posed by the DFRE Media Centre on the special promotion launched by DDF during DSS, Mr. Salah Tahlak, Senior Vice President-Corporate Communications of Dubai Duty Free said that the promotion had received an overwhelming response from visitors, and also proved that events like the DSS had a positive impact on Dubai’s retail sector. DDF is supporting this summertime event for the eleventh year.
Mr. Salah Tahlak, Senior Vice President-Corporate Communications of Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are pleased with the retail performance of Dubai Duty Free during the Dubai Summer Surprises period. Our promotion to win Dhs20,000 shopping vouchers per week for five weeks has received huge response from our customers. This is a great indication that successful events such as the Dubai Shopping Festival, which attracts visitors to Dubai, have a positive impact on the retail sector.”