J C Decaux is warning of further “challenging” market conditions in the coming months, despite posting full-year revenue growth.

Europe’s largest outdoor media owner reported sales up by 3% in the fourth quarter to £291.81 million ($473m; €439m), giving full-year growth of 2.2% to £1.04 billion. However, it retained a cautious outlook.

“As we stated in October, we expect market conditions as we enter 2003 to remain challenging,” declared co-chief operating officer Jean-Charles Decaux. “It is difficult to assess when we will see a clear improvement in advertising.”

Driving Decaux’s growth were string performances by its street furniture and billboard units.

In the fourth quarter, its core street furniture business posted 7.8% growth to £159.22m, while billboard sales rose 5.6% to £79.34m. These gave respective full-year totals of £556.53m (+5.3%) and £293.13m (+7.6%).

However, such gains were largely wiped out by a plunge in revenues at the group’s transport advertising arm. Hit by falling passenger numbers at American airports, these tumbled 11.9% in Q4 to £53.25m and 11.6% over the whole year to £195.24m.

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff