The Coronavirus Killing Travel Retail

As of 6 April, 96% of all worldwide destinations have introduced travel restrictions in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 90 destinations have completely or partially closed their borders to tourists, while a further 44 are closed to certain tourists depending on the country of origin.

Since travel restrictions have been – and continue to be – introduced across the world, huge drops in the number of travelers, many duty-free shops are closing the stores today.

“Business crashed completely as Singapore Airlines are now announcing 96 percent of its flights and no transit allowed,” says Sunil Tuli, Managing Director of Hong Kong-based King Power Group at a podcast on Moodie Davitt.

Dubai Duty-Free has suspended its retail operations in both of Dubai’s Airports after the recent UAE Government’s directive to cease all passenger flights in the country as part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Duty-free & travel retail is a global industry that generated annual retail sales of US$ 68.6 bn in 2017 and encompasses the sale of goods to international travelers. Duty-free and travel retail revenues are one of the two most important sources of income for airports. And the largest absolute gain in revenues was delivered by fragrances and cosmetics which accounted for 30% of total sales in Europe in 2014.

The world’s biggest luxury group LVMH and the largest cosmetics maker L’Oréal announced declines in their sales during the first quarter of 2020. The first quarter of 2020 has seen a decline in the cosmetics market of around -8%. L’Oréal announced 7.22 billion euros declining 4.8 percent. LVMH quarterly revenue through the end of March fell 17 percent on a comparable basis to €10.6bn.

Travel retail businesses on the street of the main fashion capitals of the world will severely be affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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