What products performed best for Dubai Duty Free in 2016?
Dubai Duty Free ushered in the new year by announcing annual sales of Dhs6.673 billion (US$1.85 billion) in 2016.
Reflecting on the year at Dubai Duty Free, Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said: “Overall, it has been a good year for the operation and I would like to thank H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free for his ongoing support. I also join His Highness in thanking our great team of staff, our suppliers and of course our customers, for their contribution to our growth and success.”
In 2016, Dubai Duty Free opened 7,000 square metres of retail in Concourse D on February 24 as part of the phased opening of the newest concourse in Dubai International Airport early this year, and that brought the retail area under its operation to 36,000 square metres in both of Dubai’s Airports. Perfumes continues to be the highest selling category with annual sales topping Dhs1.104 billion (US$306.85 million) and which represents 16.55% of total annual sales. Liquor followed with sales of Dhs1.063 billion (US$295.40 million) while Cigarettes & Tobacco came in third place with sales of Dhs578.53 million (US$160.70 million). Cosmetics came in fourth place with sales amounting to Dhs535.65 million (US$148.80 million) followed by Confectionery with Dhs517.48 million (US$143.75 million). Meanwhile, sales in departures outlets across the concourses accounted for 86.66% of the total annual sales at Dhs5.782 billion (US$1.60 billion).
During the year Dubai Duty Free also recorded an impressive 27.119 million sales transactions which is an average of 74,097 sales transactions per day across both Dubai International and at Al Maktoum International airports, and its performance won the company 28 awards during the course of the year.
Commenting on Dubai Duty Free’s plans in 2017, Colm McLoughlin said: “There is a lot to look forward to in 2017, including the improvement of our retail offer both in Dubai International Airport’s Concourse C and in Al Maktoum International Airport’s Passenger Terminal Building (AMIA PTB). In Concourse C, we have just opened our outlets in the area that links Concourse C to Concourse B, and we will fully renovate the retail areas in the rest of departures and apron levels of Concourse C over the course of the year. We are also looking forward to developing our DDF Leisure business. The Irish Village in Garhoud was voted the Irish Pub of the Year at the Irish Pubs Global Awards ceremony in Dublin, and we opened the second Irish Village in the Dubai Parks and Resorts complex in December 2016. The Jumeirah Creekside Hotel continues to do well, and you will see new food and beverage outlets in this hotel during the course of the year.”
Looking ahead, Dubai Duty Free will continue to maintain its busy events and promotional calendar which includes the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to be staged at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium from the 19th February – 4th March.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”