Retail Dubai Duty Free rehires 2,000 staff By Andy Sambidge September 6, 2022 Supplied The number of travellers is on the up, leading to greater sales at the airport tills Dubai Duty Free has recalled nearly 2,000 staff who were laid off during the global pandemic as the recovery in the regional aviation industry gathers pace. After announcing that sales have more than doubled in the first eight months of 2022 compared to the same period last year, the airport retailer said it has recovered over 80 percent of its business from pre-pandemic times. The company reported a 104 percent increase in sales for January to August, with turnover reaching $1.06 billion, placing the operation on track to reach its target of $1.6 billion by year end. Middle East breathes in smoking hot tobacco sales “We have had a fantastic year so far and I am pleased that we have recovered over 80 percent of our business from January to August, whereas the passenger recovery is about 67 percent of 2019 levels,” Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said. “We have now recalled almost 2,000 of our laid-off staff and our current staffing levels are getting closer to the pre-Covid figures. “We are heading into a busy sales period for the last quarter and with the upcoming FIFA World Cup starting in November, this will further boost traffic to Al Maktoum International Airport (AMIA) which will handle an additional 30 return flights to Doha during the World Cup period. “The opening of new fashion outlets has resulted in a big increase in the category and we are also continuing with our ongoing retail developments at Dubai International Airport (DXB). “All in all, we are confident that we will reach our target at the end of December, which also marks our 39th anniversary.” Perfumes, liquor, gold, cigarettes and tobacco and electronics retained the top five positions with perfumes showing an 89 percent increase amounting to $186 million. Global brands have opened stores at the airport Another notable increase was seen in fashion, which rose from $41 million to $130 million following recent openings of big-name brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Cartier. Online sales reached $29 million and accounted for three percent of total sales in the first eight months. Departures sales in DXB and AMIA, which account for 88 percent of total sales, showed a 115 percent increase over the same period last year to reach $927 million. Dubai Duty Free said in a statement that it will continue to look at its retail improvements over the next 18 months including a full renovation of the liquor and tobacco offer in Concourse B. It added that rehiring and recruitment at Dubai Duty Free continues to increase head count to a total of 4,407 employees.