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Dufry’s Sales Continue to Accelerate

The operator’s results are a bellwether of how the travel-retail industry is recovering.

PARIS — Dufry Group, the world’s largest travel-retail operator, reported accelerating sales growth in the first half of 2022.

The Basel, Switzerland-based group said Tuesday that growth in the six months ended June 30 grew 146.2 percent in reported terms to 2.92 billion Swiss francs, or $3.07 billion. Against first-half 2019, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, its sales were down 30.1 percent.

Dufry said the momentum has continued into the third quarter, with its net sales in July estimated to be at 90 percent of July 2019 levels at constant exchange rates.

Currency effects impacted sales negatively, by minus 1 percent in first-half 2022.

“The category mix mirrors the continued normalization of travel, including inter-regional and international routes across all regions except for APAC,” said Dufry, referring to China, where denizens have been unable to leave the country due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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Duty-free generated 58.3 percent of Dufry’s net sales, with the remainder coming from duty-paid trade. Business in airports accounted for 91.2 percent of sales.

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Dufry’s results are a bellwether of how the travel-retail industry is recovering. The channel was massively hit by the coronavirus pandemic, as travel around the world ground to a complete halt. How quickly travel retail resumes operations, and people begin taking trips at levels on a par or above when the health crisis began, will have a major impact on the business of luxury fragrance and beauty brands, which comprise travel retail’s number-one product category by sales.

Dufry said operating profits amounted to 152.4 million Swiss francs, versus a 368.5 million Swiss francs loss in the first half of 2021.

Xavier Rossinyol, chief executive officer of Dufry Group, noted in a statement the positive momentum in recent months. “Regions like North America, Central America and the Caribbean, a well as some of the Southern European and Mediterranean countries, perform in line or above 2019,” he said.

“At the same time, we continue to remain attentive given the current geopolitical and health situation, and we monitor closely consumer sentiment and the propensity for travel-related spending over the next months,” he continued. “We will count on the agility and talent of our teams to react accordingly and to further strengthen our global position in the long term despite potential temporary or geographically limited volatility.”

Rossinyol said the acquisition of Autogrill SpA is moving forward as planned. On July 11, it was announced the duty-free operator has agreed to purchase the motorway and airport catering company from the Benetton family. The merged group will have sales of 13.6 billion Swiss francs and earnings before interests, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 1.4 billion Swiss francs.

The aim of the merger, according to Rossinyol, is “to redefine the boundaries of the industry and to enrich the passenger journey by providing unique integrated and digitalized offerings for travelers across travel retail and food and beverage.

The first phase of the deal is expected to close by the first quarter of 2023.