UAE. Forget the four-minute mile. Forget the first pilot to break the sound barrier. There’s a new world record and it belongs to Dubai Duty Free, which at 00.43 on 29 December UAE time smashed the US$2 billion annual sales threshold.

In big breaking news, we can exclusively report that the travel retailer has just reached the magical mark for the first time.

[UPDATED STORY WITH REACTION]

Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Colm McLoughlin said: “2018 has been a good year for Dubai Duty Free, and we have been building up towards the US$2 billion sales figure all year. We have been tracking the sales figures hour by hour over the past couple of days and it is fantastic to have achieved this figure before the end of the year.”

He added: “It is appropriate at this time to acknowledge the tremendous team effort that goes into running an operation of this size and I would like to extend my thanks to our Chairman, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum for his ongoing support and commitment. A big thank you to our customers, our suppliers and of course our team of staff who, keep the operation running 24 hours a day.”

“My wife wanted to purchase gold and with this US$2,000 gift card she  can buy all the gold that she wants.”

The US$2 billion milestone was reached in Concourse B on 29 December at 00.43 when Paul and Annelise Christensen, a retired Danish couple, purchased a Nikon D5300 SLR Camera worth AED1,999 (US$544). The couple were transiting through Dubai International for the first time, en route from Copenhagen to Sydney for their wedding anniversary.

Once identified, they were presented with a Dubai Duty Free gift  card for US$2,000 by Dubai Duty Free officials including Senior Vice President Purchasing Saba Tahir; Vice President IT & Logistics Allan Chapman; Senior Buyer Kaiser Imtiaz; Operation Manager Salim Ibrahim; Duty Managers Edmond Saldanha and Hazel Punongbayan; and Duty Officer Jasmin Javelosa.

A delighted Paul Christensen said, “My wife wanted to purchase gold and with this US$2,000 gift card she  can buy all the gold that she wants.”

The celebrations begin just moments after the landmark US$2 billion figure is reached.

It pays to transit through Dubai International and shop at Dubai Duty Free. Paul and Annelise Christensen (centre) receive their US$2,000 gift voucher.

Dubai Duty Free’s perfumes & cosmetics store in Concourse C was a big contributor to the all-time record performance.

Timeline to US$2 billion (AED7.3 billion)

29 December, 00.43 (UAE Time): Dubai Duty Free hits the AED7.3 billion (US$2 billion mark)

29 December, 00.15 (UAE Time): AED7,299,395,390 (US$1,999,834,353.42)

28 December, 23.59 (UAE Time): AED7,299,067,343 (US$1,999,744,477.53)

28 December, 23.45 (UAE Time): AED7,298,841,593 (US$1,999,682,628.22)

28 December, 23.00 (UAE Time): AED 7,298,227,063 (US$1,999,514,263.84)

28 December, 22.30 (UAE Time): AED7,297,850,336 (US$1,999,411,050.96)

28 December, 21.10 (UAE Time): AED7,296,675,394 (US$1,999,089,149.04)

28 December, 20.10 (UAE Time): AED7,295,685,061 (US$1,998,817,824.93)

28 December, 19.10 (UAE Time): AED7,294,723,104 (US$1,998,554,275.07)

28 December, 18.10 (UAE Time): AED7,294,088,029 (US$1,998,380,281.92)

28 December, 15.09 (UAE Time): AED7,292,019,129 (US$1,997,813,460)

As reported, The Moodie Davitt Report teamed up with Dubai Duty Free to offer readers the chance to win US$1 million in a special US$2 billion countdown competition.

To have the chance to win a AED1,000 (US$278) ticket in Dubai Duty Free’s Millennium Millionaire draw, offering the opportunity (not the guarantee) to win US$1 million, readers simply had to guess the time (hour and minute) that the retailer broke through the US$2 billion mark. The closest wins.

We were overwhelmed with entries from all sectors of the travel retail and airport sectors (and from others as well – entry, as stated, is limited to those working in the industry).

We will bring you the result tomorrow.

Timeline to US$2 billion (AED7.3 billion)

29 December, 00.43 (UAE Time): Dubai Duty Free hits the AED7.3 billion (US$2 billion mark)

29 December, 00.15 (UAE Time): AED7,299,395,390 (US$1,999,834,353.42)

28 December, 23.59 (UAE Time): AED7,299,067,343 (US$1,999,744,477.53)

28 December, 23.45 (UAE Time): AED7,298,841,593 (US$1,999,682,628.22)

28 December, 23.00 (UAE Time): AED 7,298,227,063 (US$1,999,514,263.84)

28 December, 22.30 (UAE Time): AED7,297,850,336 (US$1,999,411,050.96)

28 December, 21.10 (UAE Time): AED7,296,675,394 (US$1,999,089,149.04)

28 December, 20.10 (UAE Time): AED7,295,685,061 (US$1998817824.93)

28 December, 19.10 (UAE Time): AED7,294,723,104 (US$1,998,554,275.07)

28 December, 18.10 (UAE Time): AED7,294,088,029 (US$1,998,380,281.92)

28 December, 15.09 (UAE Time): AED7,292,019,129 (US$1,997,813,460)

28 December, 13.10 (UAE Time): AED7,289,801,116 (US$1,997,205,785.21)

28 December, 12.10 (UAE Time): AED7,288,809,028 (US$1,996,933,980.27)

28 December, 10.10 (UAE Time): AED7,280,082,360 (US$1,996,579,930.14)

28 December, 08.10 (UAE Time): AED7,285,039,541 (US$1,995,901,244.11

28 December, 06.10 (UAE Time): AED7,282,376,091 (US$1,995,171531.78)

28 December, 04.10 (UAE Time): AED7,281,147,278 (US$1,994,834,870.68)

28 December, 02.10 (UAE Time): AED7,280,082,360 (US$1,994,543,112.33)

28 December, 00.10 (UAE Time): AED 7,277,462,360 (US$1,993,825,304.11)

27 December, 22.10 (UAE Time): AED 7,275,615,100 (US$1,993,319,205.48)

27 December, 20.09 (UAE Time): AED 7,273,435,765 (US$1,992,722,127.40)

27 December, 18.08 (UAE Time): AED7,271,056,764

27 December, 16.09 (UAE Time): AED7,269,928,452