Italy's Autogrill confirmed a forecast for flat 2012 results as it reported a 23 percent fall in first-quarter core-earnings, hurt by weak traffic in its recession-stricken home turf.
The world's biggest airport retailer said on Thursday it expected growth in its travel retail business to offset the weakness in its food and beverage operations in Europe in the course of 2012.
"Travel Retail had brilliant results, especially in the United Kingdom and in emerging countries, while Spain saw a slowdown," chief executive Gianmario Tondato da Ruos said in a statement.
"The impact of the recession was felt above all on our road-side business, especially in Italy, which accounts for 20 percent of group revenues, and whose negative performance affected consolidated results."
EBITDA fell to EUR€68 million (USD$88 million) in the first-quarter from EUR€86 million a year earlier.
Autogrill said its direct sales fell 0.3 percent in the first 18 weeks of the year.