Indian entry suffers setbacks
Retail and catering company Alpha Airports, which trades as Alpha Retail, revealed sales jumped 7 per cent in the three months to May 23, despite setbacks with its joint venture in India.

In the UK, sales were up 8 per cent during the first quarter. Internationally, revenue increased 3 per cent, with a strong performance from the US. This was offset by the impact of contract losses in Turkey and the heightened security issues in Sri Lanka.

The group said: 'At our UK retail division, the concession agreement with BAA in respect of the World News confectionery, tobacco and news stores at Heathrow Terminal 3, Edinburgh and Aberdeen will expire on September 30. It is anticipated that its expiry will have no significant impact on management's expectations of profit for either this financial year or the next.'

Alpha Retail also revealed that it has signed a contract with Starbucks to open coffee shops in various UK airports, through a structured roll-out programme over the next few years. The first store is set to open at Jersey airport in October.

The launch of Alpha's joint venture with Indian retailer Pantaloon Retail had been scheduled for January at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. However, the company said, because of a number of issues - including delays in receiving regulatory approval and trading clearances - the stores were unable to open until the end of March. The group said this delay has resulted in pre-trading costs being significantly greater than expected originally and added that the first month's footfall and trading was disappointing.

Alpha Retail said: 'The issues in Delhi and the heightened security situation in Sri Lanka are expected to be factors in the full-year results, but at this stage it is too early to assess their full impact. Elsewhere, our trading outlook remains in line with expectations.'