Dubai Duty Free at the Dubai International Airport terminal one. (Image Credit: Gulf News archives)

Dubai Duty Free eyes Al Maktoum International as next big growth area

By 2022, Executive Vice-Chairman Colm McLoughlin expects to have 80,000 sqm of retail space at the new airport, and over $3b in business

Dubai: Colm McLoughlin loves numbers, and data and statistics. He sits behind his desk in Dubai Duty Free’s office in Umm Ramool, reeling off figures whilst chuckling to himself about how many tonnes of chocolate was sold last year.

“We sold 2,000 tonnes in 2016. How many tonnes a day is that?” McLoughlin asks. We calculate that it equates to over 6 tonnes of chocolate sold every day across Dubai’s airports.

According to the Irishman, who has worked at the retailer since 1983, chocolate is a constant favourite, despite the changing profile of the airport retailer’s customers.

“The biggest contribution to our business now is the subcontinent. There has been terrific growth in other areas, Africa being one of them. But the most noticeable one, and the one people talk about the most, is China.”

Dubai had 450,000 Chinese visitors in 2015, expected to rise to 600,000 in 2016/2017. Despite only accounting for 4 per cent of passenger traffic through the airport, Chinese travellers...Read more...