Dubai Duty Free (DDF) opened for business on 20th of December in 1983. DDF amassed sales of US$20 million in its very first year of operation and sales continued to grow year on year thereafter. Over the past 29 years its turnover has grown from US$20 million (1984) to US$1.6 billion (2012). It has now grown to become one of the leading airport retailers in the world and it is the sole retail operator at Dubai International Airport (DIA).
Blaze to Brilliance
In December 1989 a new retail wing was opened by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In 1998, Terminal 2 was opened at Dubai International Airport which offered a further 1,400 square metres of retail space. In April 2000, the new Sheikh Rashid Terminal was opened and it provided the retailer with a retail area of 5,400 square meters. DDF also inaugurated its first border shop located next to the Customs and Immigration offices at the Hatta-Oman border in July 2012. In January 2013, they opened the new area in DDF called the ‘Concourse A’ which is dedicated to Emirates Airlines’s A380 fleet. Opening of Concourse A drove a 12% Q1 growth for the brand.
With the opening of Terminal 3’s Concourse A, their retail footprint at Dubai International grew from 18,000sq m to the current 26,000sq m. Dubai Duty Free now operates 26,000 square metres of retail space across Terminals 1, 2 and 3 and currently employs over 5,700 staff. By employing and serving more people every year it has consistently raised the benchmark for airport retailing in the Middle East.
In October 2004, DDF launched the Dubai Duty Free Foundation, a charitable body founded under the auspices of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, with Colm McLoughlin who is the Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free. This foundation had aimed to raise funds for worthy causes, specifically those aimed at benefiting children. Since its formation, the foundation has donated funds to several charities and plays an active role in helping families and children in need. Based on the turnover figures of DDF from 2008 to 2010, Dubai Duty Free was the single largest airport retailer in the world in terms of sales. In 2011, there was revenue generation of US$1.46 billion. These sales and revenue figures depict the popularity of shopping through DDF at the airport and the trust people have in the products. The brand has 112 outlets across the departures and arrivals sections of Dubai International Airport (DIA), through which it conducts the bulk of its business. Recently TRBusiness.com reported that Dubai International airport has been confirmed as the world’s second busiest airport for international passenger traffic, moving ahead of Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport for the first time.
Engagement that Enthralls
Till date, Dubai Duty Free has received over 250 industry awards, which bear testimony to the operation’s retail success. Whether it is on the golfing green, the tennis courts, the racecourse or even the high seas, sponsorship and the support of international events has been an integral part of Dubai Duty Free’s marketing strategy since 1983.
A supporter of golf for many years, Dubai Duty Free is a proud sponsor of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Ladies European Tour Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, held every year at Emirates Golf Club. Dubai Duty Free is a founding sponsor of the Dubai World Cup, the richest horse race in the world. International horse racing has provided an excellent medium for Dubai Duty Free to capture the attention of the global media.
By supporting so many events at the highest level and all around the globe, Dubai Duty Free is effectively promoting Dubai’s sporting, leisure and business facilities, which are second to none. And with more and more world-class sportspeople choosing Dubai to showcase their talent, there is much more to come in the future.
DDF is the sole retail operator at Dubai International Airport (DIA). It won the Ideas Arabia “Idea of the Year” Competition 2013 in the Customer Service Category in the year 2013. DDF runs the renowned Finest Surprise Luxury Car draw, which had began as a one-off in December 1989 and has continued to this day. With tickets on sale for US$139, people have a chance to win a luxury car. So far the Finest Surprise draw has seen over 1500 winners from 70 different countries. The Finest Surprise was joined in 1999 by the Millennium Millionaire which offers a one-in-5,000 chance to win US$1 million. To-date, this popular promotion has already created 137 dollar millionaires. With the successful opening of Concourse A at Dubai International Airport in 2013, they have introduced a number of retailing firsts including the launch of a colorful and fun retail area dedicated to M&M’s, the world’s No. 1 confectionery brand. The new retail area has created a great deal of customer interest, especially with young travelers, and it is the result of a collaboration between Dubai Duty Free and Mars International Travel Retail (Mars ITR).
Its founding principal of providing travelers with a first class retail experience in a shopper-friendly environment and a diverse range of products still holds true to this day. It has always extended its hand in contributing towards the cultural and arts initiatives in Dubai. The brand is committed to the concept of continual improvement and uses the Integrated Management System as an improvement tool. Environmental and safety issues are viewed as core business values.
1. Dubai Duty Free has won the ‘Business Traveler M.E. Award’ for “Best Duty Free Shopping” for the 12th Consecutive Year in 2013.
2. Dubai Duty Free has been honored with the ‘Best Stakeholders Team Award’ at the HSE Excellence Awards for Contractors held in the month of March, 2013.
3. Having won 250 industry awards till date, the brand has proven that they are committed to providing quality products at the best of prices.
- 1983: The year in which DDF began its operations on the 20th of December.
- 2009: The year in which DDF was presented with the award for ‘Best Duty Free Shopping’ for the ninth consecutive year at the ‘Business Traveler Middle East’ awards ceremony held in Dubai.
- 2011: The year in which DDF was awarded the ‘Patrons of the Arts’ award for its contribution towards cultural and arts initiatives in Dubai.
- 2012: The year in which DDF was named the ‘Best Airport Retailer of the Year’ at Frontier Awards .
- 1.6: The turnover of the brand in billion dollars (USD) in the year 2012.