Canadian duty free sales up in 2016

Canada’s duty free sales were up in both airport and land border stores in 2016, according to the latest figures from the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Airport duty free sales were $407 million in 2016, rising approximately 8% versus 2015 sales. December sales increased 15%.

Perfume, Cosmetics, Skincare, the number one category in Canada’s airports (35.37% of sales) increased 9.84% in 2016. Number two category Alcohol (20.45%) rose 11.78%. Tobacco, the third biggest category in Canada’s airports (11.69%) dropped 2.67% for the year.

Land border sales were up 4.93% in 2016 to $156.4 million. December sales slipped 1.34%.

Alcohol, which accounts for more than 40% of Canadian land border sales, increased 12.11% in 2016. However, tobacco (24.25% of sales) dropped 6.26%, with Perfume, Cosmetics, Skincare (15.13%) falling 1.09%.

Ontario, the largest land border region with sales of $90 million, saw sales increase 6.43% in 2016. The Atlantic/Quebec region’s sales rose 4.80% to $33 million. Pacific sales were up 3.76% to $24 million, while Prairie sales dropped 5% to $8.8 million.

FDFA Executive Director Laurie Karson spoke with TMI about the positive sales increases:

“We have seen, and Destination Canada confirms, that we are getting more Americans coming back- probably as a result of the dollar and more confidence in the economy – and this is reflected in the higher sales numbers.

“And certainly the higher sales are a “hats-off” to some of our stores, which have really been working hard to create a better customer experience, and using much better marketing locally. Some of the renovations are fantastic and some of our stores have really been attracting consumers. In addition, many of the stores work closely with the border communities and we are starting to see the results of their labor coming to fruition.

“Canada’s 150th anniversary is being celebrated throughout the year, and I am hopeful that we will be seeing even better numbers in 2017,” concluded Karson.