Bucking the spate of gloomy prognostications by ad groups, European outdoor giant JCDecaux yesterday announced it is on-course to hit double-digit growth this year.

Despite the overall advertising downturn, Decaux reported first-half sales of E755 million ($639.4m), a rise of 10.7%. Street furniture operations – which generate half of JCD’s revenues – are “holding up pretty strong,” according to co-chief executive Jean-François Decaux, with most ad inventory for the next six months already booked in France, Germany and Spain.

However, billboard revenues fell 5% overall in the last six months with differing performances between markets. In the UK, sales jumped in the first-quarter before tumbling in the second, while in France it was “almost the reverse,” said Decaux. The two nations account for 76% of billboard sales between them.

The healthy state of the firm’s street furniture operations could be interpreted as signalling a move from more costly media by advertisers. However, Decaux asserts that this is part of a longer-term trend, pointing to UK outdoor market growth from 5% of the total in 1996 to the current figure of 7%.

News source: Financial Times