– Swiss duty-free retailer Dufry expects to reopen more than 90% of its sales capacity by April as travel rebounds from the pandemic slump, it said on Tuesday, after its 2021 turnover met its worst case scenario forecast.
The retailer, which operates more than 2,300 shops at airports, on cruise liners, in seaports, and other tourist locations worldwide, said it saw business pick up in the second half of the year, helped by a travel peak in its main markets – the Americas and Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA) – which both account for around 45% of its sales.
“Emergence of the Omicron variant and related restricted measures re-imposed by selected governments caused some slowdown in January and February, but all regions have started to trend upwards already in line with the easing of restrictions in many countries,” the group said in a statement.
At the end of March, Dufry expects to operate more than 1,970 shops globally – compared with around 1,900 at end-December – around 83% of the total number and over 90% of its sales capacity.
Dufry’s 2021 turnover increased 52.9% from a year earlier to 3.92 billion Swiss francs ($4.23 billion), but fell 55.7% from the pre-pandemic level in 2019. This was roughly in line with its more conservative forecast scenario for the year.
The Basel-based company reported a cash burn of 33.4 million Swiss francs for the year, beating its more conservative forecast.
It also announced new cash flow scenarios for 2022, estimating a monthly cash burn of around 10 million Swiss francs if turnover falls by 35% from 2019, and of about 20 million if turnover slides by 40%.
($1 = 0.9258 Swiss francs)