Middle East duty free sector urged to introduce unique and exclusive goods
The Middle East duty free and travel retail sector must introduce unique and exclusive goods and develop destination products if it is to maintain its remarkable success, according to Mohamed Mounib, President of the Middle East Duty Free Association (MEDFA) and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Duty Free (ADDF).
“What we have to do is develop destination products that go beyond the usual T-shirts and mugs. We need to work with suppliers to create value items linked to heritage and specific to the UAE,” said Mounib.
“ADDF was voted the second best duty free complex in the world in the Skytrax Airport of the Year Survey 2004 and the difference between us and other regions is that we are adapting and not only introducing products that are unique and exclusive to duty free but also to trying to change customer habits.
‘At Abu Dhabi we have looked at items not normally associated with duty free like gold and electronics and we have introduced a mobile telephone shop.”
The MEDFA chief said the second edition of Middle East Exclusive (MEE), the region’s only trade show for the duty free and travel retail sector which will be held in Dubai this November and December, will be a catalyst to link duty free and luxury goods retailers with product developers.
“The first MEE has set the ground work for closer links between existing and emerging suppliers and the regional industry. We will now build on these connections,” said Mounib.
MEE, organised by Channels Exhibitions, runs from November 29 to December 1 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. To date, suppliers from nine countries have registered for the event, which last year attracted duty free and travel retail buyers from 79 countries.
Due to send a delegation to the show is Dubai Duty Free (DDF), which saw first quarter sales up 45 per cent at Dhs 426 million ($ 118 million).
Colm McLoughlin, DDF Managing Director, said: “We are well aware of the need to constantly review our retail offer in order to sustain growth and MEE gives us an opportunity to look at new products and ideas.
“We continue to enhance our retail area and the new gold shop has increased sales by 43 per cent in the first quarter. “Dubai Duty Free recently opened a watch shop and is planning a larger and completely redesigned ‘Gifts from Dubai’ area in the central zone. We hope the show spurs further initiatives for the future.” (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)