DFS and Sharaf make their mark in Abu Dhabi

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

The Moodie Report stopped off briefly in transit at Abu Dhabi International Airport earlier this week, en route to New Delhi and the unveiling of the commercial tenders for the new Terminal 3 by Delhi International Airport Limited tonight.

We were just hours too early to see the new T3 at Abu Dhabi International, which went ‘live’ last night. But we’re dropping in again tomorrow on the way back from India to see what promises to be a spectacular facility with a reputedly stunning retail offer. We’ll report our impressions in coming days.

DFS (all duty free and luxury retail) and Sharaf (consumer technology) are two of the key players in T3, and even during my visit to the old T1, one could see their impact on the offer.

Consumer techonology is a notoriously tricky category at airports. That’s due to a number of factors, including low margins, heavy local market competitition, stock issues, and the speed with which models become outdated. Traditionally the airport company operated the category in-house (along with all its retail) but that changed in late 2007 when Sharaf was appointed to a three-year concession that began on 6 January 2008.

Sharaf is a highly respected local retailer and its expertise in sourcing and logistics allied to great product knowhow, has created a win-win-win situation for retailer, airport and the consumer, according to Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) Vice President of Commercial Revenues Dan Cappell.

Over a quick coffee at T1 before my flight to Delhi, Dan said that ADAC is now making more money out of the category than it ever did before, despite having to share the revenue spoils.

One look at the shop (below) tells you why – it’s beautifully merchandised and well-stocked with all the latest models. A great example of how to execute this complex category.

DFS, although awaiting its big bang at T3, has also made some subtle differences at T1. There are a number of retailer regional exclusives or firsts, a much wider range of skus in certain categories such as high-end watches (pictured below), and some nice merchandising touches.

Take a look at the following couple of images from the Swarovski stand-alone boutique and the same brand’s presence in the general fashion area, for example. Simple and lovely.

But we suspect it’s very much a case of ‘you ain’t seen nothin’ yet’. Look out for Terminal 3, now open for business – and the next stop for The Moodie Blog.

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