UAE. Dubai Duty Free has revealed annual sales of US$1.85 billion for its airport business in 2016. The figure, noted the retailer, was -3.17% down (in UAE Dirham terms) on 2015 sales, which reached US$1.888 billion at Dubai International and Al Maktoum International.

Fragrances were again the best-selling category with annual sales topping US$306.85 million, representing 16.55% of annual sales.

Liquor followed with sales of US$295.4 million while cigarettes & tobacco was third with sales of US$160.7 million. Cosmetics ranked fourth with sales hitting US$148.8 million, followed by confectionery with US$143.75 million.


At over 16% of sales, the fragrances category again helped drive the business at Dubai Duty Free

Sales in departures outlets across the concourses accounted for 86.66% of the annual sales at US$1.6 billion.

During the year Dubai Duty Free, the world’s leading travel retailer at a single location, also recorded 27.119 million sales transactions, which is an average of 74,097 per day across both Dubai International and at Al Maktoum International airports.

Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Colm McLoughlin said: “Overall, it has been a good year for the operation and I would like to 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. I also join His Highness in thanking our great team of staff, our suppliers and of course our customers, for their contribution to our growth and success.”


The opening of Concourse D helped lift Dubai Duty Free’s retail footprint to 36,000sq m

In February 2016, Dubai Duty Free opened 7,000sq m of retail at Dubai International’s new Concourse D. That brought its retail space to 36,000sq m across Dubai’s two airports. The company also captured 28 awards during the year.

Commenting on Dubai Duty Free’s plans for 2017, McLoughlin said: “There is a lot to look forward to in 2017, including the improvement of our retail offer both in Dubai International Airport’s Concourse C and in Al Maktoum International Airport’s Passenger Terminal Building (AMIA PTB).

“In Concourse C, we have just opened our outlets in the area that links Concourse C to Concourse B, and we will fully renovate the retail areas in the rest of departures and apron levels of Concourse C over the course of the year.” (For more on this development, read our interview with Dubai Duty Free COO Ramesh Cidambi in the 2016 MEADFA Guide.)

McLoughlin added: “We are also looking forward to developing our DDF Leisure business. The Irish Village in Garhoud was voted the Irish Pub of the Year at the Irish Pubs Global Awards ceremony in Dublin, and we opened the second Irish Village in the Dubai Parks and Resorts complex in December 2016. The Jumeirah Creekside Hotel continues to do well, and you will see new food & beverage outlets in this hotel during the course of the year.”

Looking ahead, Dubai Duty Free will maintain its strong events and promotional calendar. This includes the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to be staged at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium from 19 February to 4 March.

2016 highlights

Dubai Duty Free has also released its selected highlights of the past year. Here is a month by month round-up.


  • Dubai Duty Free supported the 21st running of the Dubai Shopping Festival as a Strategic Partner for the twelfth consecutive year.


  • Dubai Duty Free again supported the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, which was won by Danny Willett.
  • The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships was won by Sara Errani and Stan Wawrinka, both capturing their first Dubai title.
dubai tennis championships atp

Glittering occasion: Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka wins the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February 2016


  • Dubai Duty Free choral group ‘Dubai Duty Free Nightingales’ won the ‘Most Dynamic Choir’ award at ChoirFest Middle East 2016.
  • Dubai Duty Free supported the 7th edition of the Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature attended by leading authors.


  • H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, officially opened the company’s 7,000sq m retail space at the new Concourse D at Dubai International.
  • Dubai Duty Free won two top awards: ‘Global Travel Retailer of the Year’ and ‘Airport Travel Retailer of the Year’ at the DFNI Global Awards for Travel Retail Excellence held in London.
  • For the 15th consecutive year, Dubai Duty Free received the ‘Best Airport for Duty Free Shopping in the Middle East’ award at the Business Traveller ME Awards.

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed and Colm McLoughlin draw the latest Millennium Millionaire winners to coincide with the opening of Concourse D


  • Dubai Duty Free won the ‘Middle East Travel Retailer of the Year’ for the 16th  time at the DFNI Asia/Pacific Awards held in Singapore.
  • The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by The Rory Foundation was held at The K Club, Co. Kildare, Ireland and won by Rory McIlroy.
STRAFFAN, IRELAND - MAY 22: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy with Colm McLoughlin, the Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, after winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at The K Club on May 22, 2016 in Straffan, Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy and Colm McLoughlin with the trophy after McIlroy captured the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at The K Club in May (Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images)


  • Dubai Duty Free organised the Dubai Duty Free President’s Cup to mark the retirement of former President George Horan after 33 years of dedicated service.
  • The 25th June saw the 9th running of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby held at the Curragh Racecourse in Ireland which was won by Harzand, owned by HH The Aga Khan and trained by Dermot Weld.
  • Dubai Duty Free opened two Apple shops in Terminal 3 at Dubai International.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, held at The Curragh, remains a highlight of the European racing calendar


  • At the inaugural The Burj CEO Awards held in Washington DC, Dubai Duty Free was presented with the ‘Best Global Services’ award, received by Chief Operating Officer Ramesh Cidambi.


  • Dubai Duty Free returned to Ascot Racecourse for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, the world’s premier international jockeys’ competition, won by The Rest of the World team.
  • Dubai Duty Free won two prestigious awards for ‘Best CSR Practices’ and ‘Best Community Action’ at the Asia Best CSR Practices and Sustainability Excellence Awards held in Singapore.


  • Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin was named ‘Retail CEO of the Year’ at the CEO Middle East Awards.
  • At the Gulf Business Industry Awards, Dubai Duty Free received a ‘Retail Company of the Year’ while Colm McLoughlin was named ‘Retail Business Leader of the Year’.
  • Newbury, UK, was the venue for the Dubai Duty Free International Raceday, attended by WTA players and DDF Ambassadors Ana Ivanović and Caroline Wozniacki.
  • For the second year running, Dubai Duty Free was named ‘Brand of the Year’ in Retail – Duty Free category at the Prestigious World Branding Awards held in London.


  • Colm McLoughlin was inducted as ‘Master of the Quaich’ for his outstanding contribution to the beverage industry at a ceremony held at Blair Castle, Scotland.
  • At the World Sustainability Congress held at The Address Hotel, Dubai Duty Free was a recipient of the ‘Excellence in Sustainable EHS Management’ award, while Colm McLoughlin was named one of the ‘100 Global Sustainable Leaders (CEO)’.
  • Dubai Duty Free participated in ‘The Dubai Week in China’, Shanghai and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with C-TRIP, the leading Chinese online travel agency and UnionPay, a long-time DDF partner.
photography, Kristina Nabieva

Dubai Duty Free is named Retail Company of the Year at the Gulf Business Awards (Photo: Kristina Nabieva)


  • Dubai Duty Free was a presenting sponsor of the 3rd Dublin Arabic Film Festival held in Ireland.
  • Dubai Duty Free was the official event sponsor of the DP World Championships – Race to Dubai which took place at the Jumeirah Golf Estates.
  • Dubai Duty Free again supported the two-day annual MEADFA conference and played host to all delegates and guests at a Gala Dinner on the first day.
  • Dubai Duty Free hosted the 24th Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup with over 100 overseas and local representatives from the global duty free industry.

On 20 December the company marked 33 years of outstanding achievement with celebrations at Dubai International (Concourse B pictured) and Al Maktoum International


  • Dubai Duty Free supported the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7s as a silver sponsor.
  • Dubai Duty Free supported the 13th Dubai International Film Festival as a principal sponsor; the event was held at Madinat Jumeirah.
  • Dubai Duty Free received two MENAA Best Business Leaders Awards for ‘Customer Delight’ and ‘Best Business Leader in Retail – Colm McLoughlin’ at a gala dinner held at Burj Al Arab.
  • Dubai Duty Free was inducted into Global Traveler US Hall of Fame for winning the ‘Best Duty Free Shops’ award for the 10th consecutive year held at Los Angeles.
  • Dubai Duty Free marked its 33rd Anniversary with a -25% discount offer on a wide range of merchandise over three days (18-20 December). Total sales for the three days topped AED161.817 million (US$44.33 million).