Online sales reached $29 million and accounted for 3 per cent of total sales in the first eight months. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai Duty Free has recovered over 80 per cent of its business from January to August compared to 2019 levels, and has also recalled almost 2,000 of its staff laid off during the pandemic, a high-ranking official said on Tuesday.

The recovery helped Dubai Duty Free record sales of $1.06 billion in the first eight months of this year, and it is set to touch $1.6 billion by end-2022.

“We have had a fantastic year so far and I am pleased that we have recovered over 80 per cent of our business…whereas the passenger recovery is about 67 per cent of 2019 levels. Our current staffing levels are getting closer to the pre-Covid figures,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.

Perfumes, liquor, gold, cigarettes & tobacco, and electronics were the top five categories during the eight months, clocking sales of $186 million, $168 million, $106 million, $98 million, and $81 million, respectively.

Another notable increase was seen in the fashion category, which rose from $41 million to $130 million.

Meanwhile, online sales reached $29 million and accounted for 3 per cent of total sales in the first eight months.

“We are heading into a busy sales period for the last quarter and with the upcoming FIFA World Cup starting in November, this will further boost traffic to Al Maktoum International Airport (AMIA) which will handle an additional 30 return flights to Doha during the World Cup period,” McLoughlin said.

Departures sales in DXB and AMIA, which account for 88 per cent of total sales, show an 115 per cent increase over the same period last year reaching $927 million, while Terminal 2 departure sales are up by 59 per cent.

Meanwhile, rehiring and recruitment at Dubai Duty Free has brought up staff strength to 4,407, which includes 58 new Emirati recruits.