Posted on August 16, 2011

Qatar Duty Free today announced a +22% year-on-year increase in sales in the first half of 2011, with July marking the highest grossing month in the retailer’s history.

The retailer has been experiencing significant growth across all categories over the last six months, driven by a sharp increase in passenger numbers at Doha International Airport, where traffic is dominated by Qatar Duty Free’s ambitious parent company, Qatar Airways.

A key factor that has contributed to the growth is a promotional area on the first floor of the airport, featuring an innovative and comprehensive assortment, the company said. “We are delighted with this growth pattern, something that we are getting quite used to by now,” said Qatar Duty Free Senior Vice President Keith Hunter.

“Over the last six months we have worked very hard to meticulously plan this growth and make sure that our customers get value for money and enjoy the shopping experience. Credit is also due to all our brand partners and suppliers for believing in us and supporting us through this journey.

“Getting this growth rate consistently for the next six months will be our objective. The difficult times ahead in some of the markets in the world are looming large upon all of us so it is important to continue offering a memorable shopping experience to our customers to gain their appreciation and loyalty.”

The retailer has been operating out of the new arrivals terminal of Doha International Airport from December last year and is currently addressing the passenger flow from the newly created Terminal B (for non-Qatar Airways flights).

“We are in advanced stages of implementing our plans to expand and reallocate some categories in our departures area, which experiences massive passenger numbers,” Hunter said. “In less than two months we hope to have an extended area for mid-range watches and a dedicated area for premium watches. Having another entrance to our shop that can facilitate a smooth flow of Terminal B passengers and the majority of Transit passengers is also a part of the plan.”

As we reported in July, this investment will add 15-20% more retail space, and greatly benefit some of the retailer’s key product categories. The company is moving back several walls in the store, notably those in the key liquor and confectionery & food zones, as well as in fragrances & cosmetics. In addition to the expansion of the watches category, electronics is being relocated to a new position on the mezzanine level.

On the mezzanine a new Express store will also open, hosting many best-selling brands from the core categories. The existing Qatar Duty Free store upstairs, which until now has sold mainly souvenirs, gifts, news & books, will be redesigned and the mix changed so it carries more of a core travel retail offer. Qatar Duty Free is seeking +24% sales growth in this financial year, Hunter told The Moodie Report last month.

by Martin Moodie

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