dubai-duty-free Dubai Duty Free ushered in the New Year by announcing record-breaking sales of Dhs6.999 billion (US$ 1.917 billion) for 2014, representing a 7.36% increase over the previous year.

The sign that a remarkable year was coming to an end was evident in December 2014 when a new monthly sales record of Dhs749.13 million (US$205.24 million) was set, representing a 7 % increase over last year’s sales of Dhs700 million (US$192 million).

The December high was fueled by Dubai Duty Free’s 31st anniversary celebrations  when the operation offered a 25% discount across a wide range of merchandise from the 18th-20th December, which resulted in a shopping spree by passengers of Dhs188.86 million (US$51.74 million) during the 72-hour period. Over the anniversary weekend, the cash registers recorded a total of 405,407 sales transactions with 205,485 sales transactions alone on the anniversary day itself, 20thDecember.

Reflecting on another memorable year at Dubai Duty Free, Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman said: “We are thrilled to announce such a positive year during which the operation went from strength to strength. I thank H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free for his ongoing support and I join His Highness in thanking our great team of staff, our suppliers and of course our customers, who are fundamental to our continued growth.”

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The operation recorded a staggering 26,995,367 sales transactions in 2014, which is an average of 73,960 sales transactions per day across both Dubai International and at Al Maktoum International, Dubai World Central.

With sales of Dhs1.147 billion (US$314 million), Perfume – which now contributes 17% of Dubai Duty Free’s total sales – retained its position as the best-selling category. Liquor and Gold followed, with sales of Dhs1.045 billion (US$286 million) and Dhs597 million (US$163.6 million) respectively. Cigarettes and Tobacco came in 4th place with sales amounting to Dhs584 million (US$160 million) followed by Confectionery with Dhs539 million (US$147.7 million).

Other major increases were seen in Cosmetics which rose by 19% to Dhs531 million (US$146.5 million) and accounting for almost 8% of annual sales. Watches rose by 9% to Dhs499 million (US$137 million).

Moreover, sales in Dubai Duty Free Departures which accounts for 88% of total sales increased by 6%, while Arrivals sales have shown a 9% increase over last year.  Terminal 2, which completed its renovation in 2014, recorded a 10% increase in sales, while Terminal 3, which currently accounts for 63 % of total sales increased by 7% over last year.

While the successful running of the retail operation is a major focus for Dubai Duty Free, the operation has received some 37 awards in 2014 alone, including the prestigious Frontier Award for “Airport Retailer of the Year in a Single Location”. On a personal level, Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman, Colm McLoughlin received several awards including the CEO Middle East award for Outstanding Contribution to Business. Significantly, Mr. McLoughlin was also a recipient of the Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award, making him the first Irish person living in the UAE to be recognised by the Irish government for an outstanding contribution to Irish business and communities abroad.

Looking ahead, Dubai Duty Free will continue to enhance its retail operation with the ongoing refurbishment of Concourse C and the opening of a 7,000sqm retail space in Concourse D while maintaining a busy events and promotional calendar. This includes the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships which will be staged at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium from the 15th to 28th February.