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Dubai Duty Free setting standards for the world

Suchitra Steven Samuel
Filed on March 17, 2016
Dubai Duty Free setting standards for the world
With HH Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum holding the frontier award.

Dubai Duty Free continues to be number 1 in the industry with Irish stalwart Colm McLoughlin at the helm.

Dubai Duty Free (DDF) celebrated its 32nd anniversary on December 20th last year with a 25 per cent discount, as a way of thanking loyal customers and creating a great sense of excitement throughout the airport.

"An anniversary is a good time to reflect on the past and see how far we have come from the early days when Dubai International Airport had around 3 million passengers. Our turnover in the first full year of business was $20 million and in 2015 we reached $1.888 billion, which makes us the single largest airport retailer in the world," says Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman, Dubai Duty Free.

Successful team

"I was delighted to accept the Best Business Leader in Retail Award presented at the inaugural Middle East, North Africa & Asia (MENAA) Awards, and dedicate it to our Chairman HH Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who is an excellent leader. I have been involved in the retail business for over 45 years, including 32 at Dubai Duty Free, and I am as enthusiastic and excited about this business as ever. I would like to thank all of the management and staff at Dubai Duty Free, who work hard to ensure the operation's ongoing success."

- Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman

He added that it is also a good opportunity to look ahead at future ventures. "There are great plans in place in relation to Dubai Duty Free, including the recent opening of Concourse D, where we have 7,000 square metres of retail space, which is already doing very well."

Several factors ensure that DDF is number 1 in the industry - the support and encouragement from the Government of Dubai, in particular from its Chairman HH Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. "From the very beginning, when the original team of Aer Rianta (Irish Airport Authority) of which myself and George Horan, my deputy and current President were a part, came to set up Dubai Duty Free, we were told that the operation had to be world-class as per the ambitions of Dubai. Our core directives have continued to be the same - to provide a world-class service with quality products at good prices within a customer-friendly environment. Of course, the operation has grown dramatically, especially from a staffing and logistics point of view, to meet the growing demands and stay ahead of the retail curve," adds McLoughlin.

Significant highlights in 2015

A major highlight in 2015 has been DDF returning to the No. 1 spot as the single airport retail operation in the world based on its 2015 sales figures of $1.888 billion. One of the highlights in DDF's sponsorship and events calendar was the 150th edition of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby held at the Curragh in June 2015.

Dubai Duty Free setting standards for the world (KT5786317.JPG)Officials at the DDF Irish Derby 2015 prize presentation

The milestone year was well celebrated and the winning horse was Jack Hobbs, owned by Godolphin, emphasising the strong UAE-Ireland connections.

"We also took on the title sponsorship of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation, held last year in Royal County Down. We were happy with the event and the exposure it gave us and have subsequently signed on for a further three years. The 2016 event is being staged at the K Club," says the Executive Vice Chairman.

Dubai Duty Free's Innovative Promotions

DDF's Finest Surprise promotion to win a luxury car continues to go from strength to strength since its inception in 1989. To date, DDF has awarded 1,620 luxury cars from 72 countries following their purchase of an entry ticket, while the motorbike promotion produced 276 winners since its introduction in 2002.

Dubai Duty Free setting standards for the world (KT5788317.JPG)DDF's 32nd anniversary celebrations

It is also amazing to note that DDF has 22 double winners in the Finest Surprise promotion. As with the Finest Surprise draw, the Millennium Millionaire promotion has also seen six winners winning $1 million more than once. To date, DDF has created 212-dollar millionaires.

Dubai Duty Free setting standards for the world (KT5787317.JPG)St Patrick's Day

St Patrick's Day is a national holiday in Ireland and there is always a great sense of pride and celebration around the day itself with parades and the like.

"I enjoy the day and the events around it, including the St Patrick's Day ball held each year. I love to view the Burj Al Arab when it turns green - it is something special. The Irish Village, which is part of DDF's Leisure Division, always has a full programme of activities lined up for St Patrick's Day including music and dance, and it is well worth dropping by over the weekend," notes McLoughlin.

Awards 2015

On its journey to the top Dubai Duty Free has received more than 500 industry awards presented by international, regional and local entities, which bear testimony to its retail success.

In 2015 alone, Dubai Duty Free was presented with 27 awards including the Frontier Award for "Best Marketing Campaign of the Year by a Retailer", US Global Traveller Award for "Best Duty Free Shop", "Best Employer Brand" atthe 2nd GCC Best Employer Brand Awards, the UK World Branding Awards "Brand of the Year" in Retail (Duty Free), "Superbrands" Awards ME and the Business Traveller ME Award "Best Airport For Duty Free Shopping", among others.

- suchitra@khaleejtimes.com





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