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ARI sees overseas profits soar 19%

Travel retailer Aer Rianta International (ARI) saw both its overseas profits and domestic sales grow in 2015, according to parent company DAA’s full-year financial results.

The Irish Whiskey Collection at Dublin Airport

ARI, which has travel retail operations in 10 countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East, India, New Zealand and its native Ireland, saw overseas profits for the year reach €22 million, a 19% year-on-year increase.

While separate profit figures for the Irish operations are not included in the DAA report, sales across both Dublin and Cork airports increased by 20% to €273 million last year. This figure includes retail, food and beverage sales by concessionaires.

ARI says an €8 million upgrade to the main retail area at Dublin’s Terminal 1, in addition to increasing passenger numbers, helped deliver a 28% increase in sales at ARI’s directly managed stores in Ireland. Average spend per passenger at these stores increased by 12% in 2015.

Annual sales across these ARI outlets passed the €100 million threshold for the first time since the abolition of intra-EU duty free in 1999.

While currency did have “some impact”, particularly in the Middle East, the strength of sterling and the US dollar boosted euro-based operations. The weakening rouble and ongoing financial crisis in Russia had an impact on trading in Cyprus, where ARI owns and operates the retail business at Larnaca and Paphos airports.

Managed turnover across all ARI locations increased 19% year-on-year, with the retailer’s Middle East joint venture operations continuing to perform well.

Beirut Duty Free delivered a “resilient” performance according to the company, despite the impact of the ongoing conflict in neighbouring Syria.

The Delhi International Airport JV saw turnover increase for the fifth consecutive year. Sales increased 9% to US$140 million, buoyed by strong passenger traffic and marketing activity.

ARI’s Canadian business also registered “strong growth” in 2015.

In addition to its current footprint, ARI also won the 10-year contract to operate a number of categories at the new Midfield Terminal Building at Abu Dhabi Airport.

“ARI had an excellent year both at home and abroad in 2015,” said ARI chief executive Jack MacGowan.

“There was a strong uplift in ARI’s overseas profits and retail sales at the Irish airports increased ahead of passenger growth. ARI has also been working to lay the foundations for future growth, winning key contracts in Abu Dhabi and Muscat in recent months.”

Aer Rianta manages both The Loop duty free and the Irish Whiskey Collection stores at Dublin and Cork airports. Earlier this month, the retailer partnered with The Teeling Whiskey Company to release a single cask expression selected by The Aviator’s Whiskey Society, a group set up by staff members.

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