In other countries, the Group grossed €719.4m in 2008, an increase of 6.9% (+6.8% at constant exchange rates) with respect to the previous year (€672.7m). Alpha's food & beverage locations at European airports contributed €27.8m. This area was influenced by the slack performance of motorway traffic in many countries where the Group is active. The other channels enjoyed double-digit growth rates, thanks to the development activities carried out in previous years and the conclusion of infrastructure projects in various countries. Fourth quarter sales came to €161.5m (€161.6m in the previous year), with Alpha contributing €3m.

Performance by channel is described below:

  • Motorways: sales in this channel totalled €423.2m, compared with €417m in the previous year. The increase of 1.5% (+1.1% at constant exchange rates) was achieved despite unfavourable market conditions, namely high fuel prices in the first half of the year, followed by the weakening of Europe's economies. Trends were quite different from one country to the next: significant progress was made in Switzerland (+20% in local currency) and Belgium (+10%), thanks in part, in both cases, to agreements with the oil companies for the management of their retail operations. Spain was down sharply (-11%), and the situation was stable in France (-0.4%), the Group's main country in this area. Sales in the fourth quarter came to €89.3m, -1% (-2% at constant exchange rates) with respect to the previous year's €90.2m.
  • Airports: airport sales climbed to €168.4m, from €141.9m in 2007 (+18.7% or +20.2% at constant exchange rates). Good performance at existing locations in the area (such as Athens, Brussels and Zurich) was magnified by the newly acquired operations of Alpha. Fourth quarter sales stood at €38.3m, a decrease of 6.9% (-4.5% at constant exchange rates) with respect to the previous year (€41.1m).
  • Railway Stations: with revenue of €86.4m (€76.2m in 2007), this channel grew by 13.4% (+12.9% at constant exchange rates) thanks to significant progress in all countries where the Group is active. Growth in France (+9.7%) was chiefly the result of the completion of refurbishment works at Paris Est and other stations, while the 14.2% rise in Spain stems from the opening of the new high-speed routes connecting Madrid to Barcelona and Malaga, and the reorganisation of some outlets at Madrid Atocha station. Results were also good in Switzerland and Belgium, where some new locations were opened. Sales in the fourth quarter came to €22.8m, +16.4% (+15.1% at constant exchange rates) compared with the €19.6m earned in the same period of 2007.
  • Other channels: sales in other channels grew to €41.4m from €37.7m in the previous year, an increase of 9.9% (+7.9% at constant exchange rates). Some of the progress is ascribed to full-scale operations by the recent food & beverage outlets at Telefonica headquarters in Spain and at the Carrousel du Louvre in France. Fourth quarter sales increased by 4.3% (+0.2% at constant exchange rates), from €10.7m in 2007 to €11.2m.