Eurostar Growth Takes World Cup Penalty
Eurostar has blamed football's World Cup for a slowdown in passenger and revenue growth.
The Channel Tunnel high-speed train operator said demand was affected by a rising number of people choosing to stay at home to watch the tournament in Brazil in the final weeks of its first-half trading period.
Nevertheless, Eurostar reported 2% growth in passenger numbers over the first six months of 2014, rising to 5m from 4.9m a year previously.
Sales revenues also grew by 0.5% to £456m from £453m.
The company said the "convergence" of Easter and May holidays this year had also not helped its business, as travellers were booking only one trip under the English Channel, when previously they may have booked more.
Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: "While a number of factors in the second quarter of the year led to a dampening in demand, we are now beginning to see a more benign trading environment with encouraging signs of economic stability in France as well as the UK".
As well as its small rise in passengers, Eurostar saw an increase of 6% in more lucrative business bookings compared to the same period in 2013.
Mr Petrovic added: "These more favourable conditions have helped deliver strong growth in business travel across our markets."