Autogrill, the transport hub operator, said sales were starting to pick up this year as road traffic after reporting a 2.2% drop in revenue to €3.98bn in 2013.

The company, a standalone food & beverage operator since World Duty Free Group demerged from the group in October last year, saw net profit decrease 4.4% to €87.9m.

It said that a contraction in its home market of Italy had offset a traffic-driven 1.1% increase in sales in North America. The group said that Belgium, Germany and the UK had also achieved sales growth during the year.

Revenues in the other European countries were up 8.5% due to both new openings in 2013 and a recovery in consumer spending more marked than in Italy.

The company reported an encouraging start to 2014, with revenue in the first nine weeks of the year up 3.7%, although it said sales in Italy remain depressed due to shop closures last year.

Revenue growth of 1.5% at airports and railway stations was offset by a 1.3% decline at motorway locations during the year, which the company said reflected “the persistent contraction in traffic and consumer spending”.

Autogrill chief executive Gianmario Tondato Da Ruos said: “2013 was a year of great transformation for us, starting with the separation of our two businesses, which was completed in just nine months and led to the formation of two distinct entities, both leaders in their respective sectors.”

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