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Duty-free retailer Dufry sees hike in 2022 turnover on strong demand

FILE PHOTO: A duty free shop belonging the the Dufry group in a departure lounge at Denpassar international airport in Bali

By Tristan Chabba

(Reuters) -Swiss duty-free retailer Dufry said on Wednesday it expects a sharp rise in 2022 turnover as it posted a nearly 57% jump in third quarter sales, boosted by leisure travel in summer months.

The company, which operates in over 60 countries with around 2,200 shops globally, forecast a full-year turnover of 6.6 billion to 6.7 billion Swiss francs ($6.6 billion-$6.7 billion) compared to 3.92 billion Swiss francs it reported in 2021.

Dufry, which runs shops at airports, on cruise liners, in seaports, and other tourist locations worldwide, has been benefiting from a strong rebound in global travel, particularly in Europe and the United States, after restrictions imposed to tackle the pandemic were lifted.

Dufry said in a conference call it already saw a stronger-than-expected performance in October.

Business travel has picked up in the United States, the company said, where it has accelerated the deployment of self-check out to help sales and support hiring needs in the face of a recovery in passenger traffic.

However, the Basel-based firm deemed a return to 2019 sales levels in 2023 "not realistic", labeling the upcoming year a challenging one over macro and geopolitical hurdles.

The group reported a turnover of 2.12 billion Swiss francs for the third quarter, up 56.7% in reported growth from a year earlier but 15% below 2019 pre-pandemic level.

($1 = 0.9990 Swiss franc)

(Reporting by Tristan Chabba and Linda Pasquini in Gdansk, Poland; Editing by Jan Harvey, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Sandra Maler)