May 19 (Reuters) - As more people resume travel and plan
vacations, retailers and consumer product companies including
U.S. discount chain Target and cosmetics maker Coty are
benefiting from a jump in luggage sales and increased spending
Duty-free shops and makers of travel-related items, such as
suitcases, saw sales stall during COVID-19 lockdowns across the
world, but travel-related business is taking off again. United
Airlines last month forecast the highest quarterly
revenue in its history.
Target Corp said on Tuesday ahead of its quarterly
earnings release that luggage sales grew by half in the first
quarter of 2022.
"We are now seeing guests who might have been buying TVs
last year, this year they're looking at luggage because they're
getting ready to travel for the first time," Target's Chief
Executive Brian Cornell told reporters.
Samsonite International S.A., which also makes
bags under Tumi and American Tourister brands, last week said
its quarterly sales rose 75% from a year earlier.
The corporate anecdotes dovetail with signs of a return of
U.S. household consumption back toward services after two years
of outsized spending on big ticket goods while people were
largely cooped up at home.
Commerce Department data for March, the latest available,
showed the share of total spending devoted to recreation,
accommodation and dining out climbed to a pandemic-era high of
10.33%. That is up from just over 6% early in the health crisis.
A higher number of travelers passing through airports is
also lifting prospects for goods sold at stores there, such as
perfume, designer makeup and liquor.
Swiss duty-free retailer Dufry AG said on Thursday
its organic sales more than doubled in the first quarter as
travel in Europe rebounded.
Dufry, which operates around 2,200 shops at airports, on
cruise liners, in seaports, and other tourist locations
worldwide, said it saw a particularly strong recovery in the
Europe, Middle East and Africa region, where its sales more than
tripled from a year earlier.
In the United States, TSA checkpoint travel numbers for
last seven days are on average 36.33% higher than during the
same time in 2021.
"People are shopping fragrances globally today more than
ever before. All levels are above 2020-2019," said Coty Inc
CEO Sue Nabi earlier this month, adding that the global
beauty company expects the momentum to continue.
Tobacco companies Imperial Brands and Philip Morris
International said they were also starting to see
recovery of sales in duty-free shops at airports around the
world, including in Europe and the Middle East.
(Additional reporting by Dan Burns in New York and Aishwarya
Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anna Driver, Bill Berkrot and