ESTONIA. An increase in shopping and restaurant sales was the major driver of revenue growth for cruise & ferry operator Tallink in 2012, according to the company’s results for the year.

Total restaurant and shops sales (including on-board and on mainland) for AS Tallink Grupp hit €517.5 million in 2012, up +6% from €488.1 million in the previous year.

Meanwhile, total revenues for the group were up +4% to €943.9 million, with gross profit up +0.7% to €201.2 million and net profit from continuing operations up +2.3% to €56.3 million.

In Q4, restaurant and shop sales hit €128.6 million, a year-on-year increase of +6.1%, with total revenues for the period up +4% to €222.8 million.

Reporting the results, the company said: “The main contribution for the growth in total revenue in 2012 came from the increase from shops and restaurants sales by nearly €30 million. Ticket sales have been under pressure throughout the year due to bad weather and tight competition.

“The positive development on shop and restaurant sales continued also in the fourth quarter, showing +6% increase on absolute terms and +5% increase per passenger basis when compared to the fourth quarter of the previous year.”

Total passenger numbers for the year hit 9.3 million last year, up +1.3% on 2011, with growth led by the Estonia-Finland route, up +5.3% to 4.5 million.

In its outlook for 2013, Tallink pointed out that a number of vessels were in scheduled maintenance at the beginning of the year, meaning it was expecting lower passenger volumes for this period.

However, it added that developments in its electronic sales channels, aimed at better usability, would help it reach remote markets and improve its position in the home markets.

Tallink is the largest cruise & ferry operator worldwide by tax and duty free turnover, putting it in the top 25 travel retailers worldwide, as revealed in the October print edition of The Moodie Report.