Targeting $1.4 billion in total annual sales for 2011, Dubai Duty Free (DDF) yesterday said it has achieved robust sales of $698 million (Dh2.548 million) in the first half of the year, a 16.6 per cent increase over the same period last year.
The unrest in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region reduced travel to a considerable degree in the first half of the year.
Asked what enabled Dubai Duty Free to achieve positive results in such a scenario, Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director, told Gulf News: "Passenger figures at Dubai International Airport have increased over last year and are not impacted by the regional issues."
He added that the aviation retail body had seen consumer spending increase in most categories with particularly significant spikes in luxury products.
Perfumes, liquor and gold continued to be the top three categories in the first six months.
Gold sales increased 24 per cent to top Dh290 million, followed by perfumes, up 20 per cent to Dh361 million, DDF said in a statement.
Commenting on the sales projections for the second half of 2011, McLoughlin said: "We are projecting total annual sales of $1.4 billion."
In other categories, sales of electronic goods increased 22 per cent to Dh196 million, DDF said, while watch sales grew an impressive 41 per cent to Dh172 million.
DDF's positive sales numbers emerge in the wake of the retail body retaining its position as the largest single airport retail operator in the world for the third consecutive year in terms of turnover, which hit Dh4.66 billion ($1.27 billion) in 2010, according to DDF's statement.
It added that analysis by independent industry experts Generation Research places Dubai Duty Free ahead of Seoul Incheon Airport and London Heathrow, both of which also recorded sales in excess of $1 billion last year.
In 2010 global duty free and travel retail sales, which include airports, airlines, ferries and other shops, touched $39 billion, up from $34.5 billion in the previous year, DDF said in a statement.
It added that the Middle East accounts for 7.4 per cent of global duty free sales with DDF alone accounting for 5.4 per cent of airport shop sales and 3.2 per cent of the wider duty free and travel retail global business.
Emirates' Terminal 3 accounted for 60 per cent of the duty free sales in the first six months of the year, according to McLoughlin.
And the spending trends across all three terminals at Dubai International Airport continued to increase.
As per the statistics provided by DDF, the year-to-date 2011 sales contribution from Terminal 1 was 34.15 per cent, while Terminal 2 contributed 6.42 per cent.
Arrival sales increased 16 per cent, according to DDF.