In 2008 this area grossed $2,773.2m, compared with $2,651.7m in the previous year (+4.6%, or +2.3% on a like-for-like basis1), under highly complex conditions. While the early months of the year were marked by a gentle reduction in air traffic and a much more severe setback in the motorway channel, airport performance then suffered from the steep loss of traffic caused by the area's economic decline. Fourth-quarter revenue of $803.6m were 0.5% lower than the same period in 2007 ($807.4m), or 2.2% lower on a like-for-like basis2.

Performance by channel is described below:

  • Airports: airports progressed by 5.4% (2.8% on a like-for-like basis) with revenue of $2,222.7m ($2,109.2m in 2007), against a 4.7% decrease in passenger traffic (-4.6% in terms of flights; source: A.T.A.3). The comparison between traffic trends and sales demonstrates the Group's ability to outperform the market even in very difficult times, thanks to constant efforts to diversify and adapt its menus. In the last quarter, when the decrease in traffic was at its worst (-8.9% for passengers and -9.5% for flights; source: A.T.A.), sales came to $640.6m, a reduction of 0.4% (-2.1% on a like-for-like basis) with respect to the same period in 2007 ($643.1m).
  • Motorways: with car traffic down by 4.0% on the routes where the Group operates (as of December 2008; source: FHWA4) due to the high cost of fuel, revenue in this channel stood at $451.8m ($464.6m in 2007), a decrease of 2.8%. Part of that should be attributed to the many restructuration projects still underway at various locations, without which the decline would have been limited to 1.2%. The fourth quarter, with a 4.0% drop in traffic (source: FHWA), closed with sales of $129.7m: -1.3% (-0.8% on a like-for-like basis) with respect to the $131.3m earned in the same period last year.
  • Malls: the significant increase in sales at malls (+26.8%), from $77.8m in 2007 to $98.7m, reflects the full-year consolidation of FoodBrand (consolidated for six months only the previous year). On a like-for-like basis the increase would have been 0.7%. Sales in the fourth quarter were up by 1% (+0.8% on a like-for-like basis), to $33.3m, compared with $33m in the last quarter of 2007.

Like-for-like refers to locations in business both in 2008 and 2007, offering the same kind of products and services
2 The US subsidiary divides the fiscal year into 13 four-week periods, with each week running from Saturday to Friday. Those periods are then grouped into three 12-week quarters and a final 16-week quarter. On that basis, fiscal year 2007 closed on 28 December 2007, while fiscal year 2008 closed on 2 January 2009; sales in the last week of 2008 - the 53rd - came to $52m
3 Airport Transport Association
4 Federal Highway Administration