GULF STATES – ECONOMICS & FINANCE
Dubai Duty Free’s annual sales hit record dh7.406b
Dubai Duty Free began the new year on a high note as it announced record annual sales of Dh7.406 billion ($2.029 billion) for 2019.
The retailer crossed the $2 billion milestone on December 26. The operation’s 36th anniversary day on December 20, when customers were offered a 25 percent discount on a range of products, resulted in a huge surge in sales with 190,208 transactions recorded on the day amounting to sales of Dh111.65 million in the 24-hour period.
Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said: “Overall, it has been a fantastic year for the operation and I would like to thank Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Emirates airline, Chief Executive of the Emirates Group and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, for his ongoing support. I also join him in thanking our great team of staff, our suppliers and of course our customers, for their contribution to our growth and success.”
In 2019, the operation recorded over 24.284 million sales transactions, which is an average of 66,500 sales transactions per day, while a total of over 64.578 million units of merchandise were sold. The top-selling categories for the year included perfumes, cosmetics and electronics. Sales of perfumes, which rose by 2 percent over 2018, reached Dh1.124 billion and accounted for 15 percent.
Cosmetics had Dh848.74 million in sales, contributing 11 percent towards total revenue, an increase of 11 percent over 2018. Electronics recorded sales of Dh558.05 million. Meanwhile, sales in departures across the operation reached Dhs6.6 billion and represented 89 percent of total annual sales, while arrivals had Dh664.23 million, which was 9 percent of the overall figure.
Dubai sees dh2 billion operating surplus in 2020
Dubai on Sunday said it can achieve an operating surplus of almost Dh2 billion due to its prudent fiscal polices and also set the debt service rate at no more than 5 percent of its expenditure.
“We are capable of achieving an operating surplus of Dh1.96 billion due to the adoption of disciplined financial policies, which contributes to the development of infrastructure programmes for the emirate and affirms the financial sustainability policy pursued by the emirate,” said Abdul Rahman Saleh Al Saleh, director-general of Dubai’s Department of Finance.
The emirate will maintain a debt service rate of no more than 5 percent of its total expenditure in the fiscal year 2020, he added.
Dubai on Sunday approved a Dh196 billion three-year budget for 2020-22 and Dh66.4 billion budget for 2020 alone, the largest ever in its history. The budget will stimulate the emirate’s entire economy and support the organisation of Expo 2020.
State spending will increase by 17 percent to a record Dh66.4 billion, compared to the original budget plan of Dh56.8 billion for 2019.
Saudi-founded startups graduate from accelerator programme
AstroLabs recently announced the graduation of 17 Saudi-founded technology startups from its Forward KSA accelerator program.
The intensive three-month program culminated in the top five startups pitching their products at a celebratory closing ceremony, which took place at the AstroLabs Riyadh office. The startups that presented on-stage included GetMuv, Hoplay, Speero, IFF Machine and Dailymealz.
At the event, AstroLabs also celebrated the first anniversary of its Riyadh office opening. AstroLabs Riyadh was inaugurated in December 2018 after AstroLabs was granted the first-ever international incubator licence by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority.
Under this licence, AstroLabs operates a premier co-working space, capability building learning academy, and business setup services. AstroLabs has assisted over 60 companies, whose market value exceeds $2 billion, to expand into the Saudi market with 100 percent foreign ownership.
UAE carriers pin high hopes on expo, route networks
Senior industry executives and aviation analysts see 2020 as a promising year for local airlines in the UAE, which will focus on new route networks, cost optimisation, as well as cashing in on increased traffic from the middle of this year for the Expo 2020 Dubai event.
The latter half of the year will benefit from Expo 2020, pushing into 2021 – but customers will be the biggest winners. Choice, pricing, and growing city pair options out of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah will ensure that the UAE remains a key nexus point for regional and international travel.
Emirates, the world’s largest international carrier, said that it will usher in 2020 with a continued focus on strengthening its businesses across operational, commercial and customer experience metrics, and excitement for Expo2020.
“In 2020, we’ll continue to leverage our partnerships to provide even more connectivity and value for our customers. And we look forward to welcoming the world to Dubai for Expo2020, where we will showcase the future of aviation at the Emirates Pavilion,” said Sir Tim Clark, the outgoing president of Emirates, the world’s largest international carrier.
50 new job openings for nationals at Etihad rail
Etihad Rail has launched a training and employment programme to hire 50 locals, as part of the company’s continuous commitment to support Emiratisation.
As part of Etihad Rail’s Emiratisation programme, the contractors and joint venture partners working on the design and build elements of stage two of the Pan-Emirates railway network will train and hire 50 suitably qualified UAE nationals in various disciplines and fields in the industry.
Saeed Al Ahbabi, chief corporate support officer at Etihad Rail, said: “We are proud to be opening up 50 additional job opportunities to Emirati employees through our local partners, in line with the directives of our Chairman Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Executive Council Member and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court. As of today, approximately 80 percent of our higher management structure is Emirati. Now that stage two of the national project is under way, we shall be recruiting from across all seven Emirates and the training, followed by suitable employment, will equip each one of them technically and professionally to facilitate their growth, enable them to become leading proponents of the transport and infrastructure industry.”
Cofe App announces UAE expansion
Cofe App, the coffee-centric online marketplace announced its expansion to the UAE, with the brand all set to serve enthusiasts living and visiting the Emirates in light of Expo 2020 Dubai to be held this year.
Having initially launched in Kuwait and expanding to Saudi Arabia to serve 24 cities, the brand is now live for coffee lovers in the UAE, one of the GCC’s largest and most important markets.
As one of the fastest growing market’s in the region, the UAE expansion is a crucial step in the brand’s strategic growth plan. With exclusive centers catering to multi-commodity sectors, Dubai attracts coffee companies from around the world, serving every kind of coffee connoisseur, making it a natural choice when it comes to furthering Cofe App’s growth objectives.
Cofe App has launched its services across all seven emirates. The brand will serve as an online platform for all kinds of coffee houses, including both international franchises, as well as artisanal coffee roasters. The expansion was planned keeping Expo 2020 in mind.
Dubai’s non-oil trade up 6pc, pips dh1t mark
Dubai’s non-oil external trade 6 six percent to just over Dh1 trillion mark in the first 9 months of 2019, with China, India and the US remaining the top three largest trading partners of the region’s commercial and trade hub.
Official figures by Dubai Customs showed that exports rose 23 percent to Dh118 billion, re-exports grew 4 percent to Dh312 billion and imports climbed 3 percent to Dh589 billion. On a quarterly basis, the third quarter saw trade growing 7 percent to Dh343 billion while second-quarter trade activity grew 3 percent to reach Dh337 billion. The first quarter’s trade activity saw a 7 percent growth to reach Dh339 billion; these are compared to the same periods in 2018.
“The strong performance of Dubai’s foreign trade reflects the robust fundamentals of our economy and prepares us to take advantage of the new opportunities that will come in 2020 – the year that will mark a new push for transformational growth over the next 50 years,” said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.