Jun 24, 2020
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World Duty Free owner Dufry cuts jobs as travel retail takes huge pandemic hit

Jun 24, 2020

Swiss travel retail giant Dufry AG on Wednesday launched a restructuring programme designed to cut its staff costs as it works to protect its business following the effects of the coronavirus outbreak globally.


Dufry has predicted a sales decline of anything from 40% to 70% due to the pandemic and as a result is cutting its personal costs by between 20% and 30%.

The cuts will happen between this month and October but might not mean as big a redundancy programme as those percentages would suggest. The company is planning to make use of early retirements and government support schemes, as well as not taking on the extra seasonal staff it would usually employ, in addition to direct cuts in positions at all levels of the business and in all geographies.

But it said it’s not currently possible to detail how many jobs would be lost or the specific locations that would be affected as it’s in consultations on the job losses.

Dufry is the biggest travel retail specialist globally by sales, 

Travel retail had previously been one of the most buoyant sectors of the luxury and discretionary goods market but lockdowns and travel bans have seen it hit the hardest of all sectors.

The period from March to June should have been extremely busy for travel retail businesses around the world but the massive amounts of fragrances, make up, premium and high-end accessories and more that it could have expected to sell remain on store shelves. 

And they’re not likely to be sold any time soon. While airport stores – such as Dufry’s World Duty Free operations at Heathrow – have reopened, the number of people travelling for business or pleasure remains tiny and is unlikely to reach the levels of 2019 and early 2020 for several years.

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