INTERNATIONAL. Autogrill Group is forecasting that revenues will fall by -50-55% year-on-year in the second half of 2020, though it noted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains uncertain.

The company said: “For the remainder of 2020 Autogrill expects global economic uncertainty to be high and that the group top line will be significantly impacted by the traffic disruption caused by COVID-19.” Of trends it foresees for the rest of the year, it noted that:

*Airport traffic will remain materially below 2019 for the remainder of 2020. Domestic air travel sector is expected to recover more quickly than the international segment;

*Motorway traffic has been the most resilient in the pandemic and it is expected to recover more quickly than air traffic due to a shift in personal car use and reluctance to return to mass transit;

*COVID-19 is hitting other channels such as railway stations and malls hard.

The key financials for the half to June 2020, highlighting the dramatic impact of COVID-19 (click to enlarge)

Commentary on the outlook emerged as the group today reported first-half results to June, with consolidated revenue falling by -51.7% (-52.3% at constant exchange rates) to €1,096.5 million. Like for like sales fell by -52.7%, with underlying EBITDA down by -83.5% year-on-year to €55.5 million and a net loss of €271 million compared to profit of €115 million a year ago.

As of 30 June 56% of group stores remained closed. In that month revenue fell by -78% though the figures improved in July, with 50% of outlets closed and revenue down by -68% year-on-year in the week to 19 July (at constant exchange rates).

How revenue by region looked in the half (click to enlarge)

By region, North America delivered a like for like revenue performance down -57.3% in the half (to US$584 million), with June revenue down by -88% and 69% of stores closed in that month.

The International business showed a like for like performance of -43.8% in the half (to €171 million), with June revenue down by -91% and 70% of stores closed by the end of the month.

In Europe Autogrill posted a like for like performance of -49.2% in the half (to €396 million), with revenue down by -59% in June (at constant rates) and 25% of stores closed as of 30 June. The figure for stores closed was 18% in Italy (with a strong concentration on the motorway business) and 35% in the rest of the region.

Autogrill says that the impact has been felt across all territories, with high uncertainty about the months ahead (outlets pictured at Las Vegas McCarran Airport above, Cairns Airport below)

Commenting on performance to date in July, Autogrill said that business at North American airports was “slightly improving” though the “performance remains subdued, as virus cases continue to rise in US hotspots”.

In the International business there has been some improvement at airports but a “continued weak performance due to exposure to international hubs” while the rail business has been affected by work-from home trends.

In Europe, there are encouraging signs of recovery in motorways but in other channels “a continued poor performance with early signs of recovery”.