Upper Crust owner reports strong sales as travel sector rebounds

By BigHospitality

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: ssp, Upper Crust, travel hub

Travel concessions operator SSP has reported a strong recovery in its revenues as the travel sector rebounds after Covid-19.

Revenues were £803.2m – up 212.9% on 2021, but still only 64% of 2019 levels - for the six-month period ending 31 March 2022.

The owner of travel hub focused brands including Upper Crust, Cabin, Ritazza, and Haven has reported a loss before tax of £2.3m (2021: £299.7m loss). On a pre-IFRS 16 basis, the underlying loss before tax was £55.3m (2021: £182.m loss).

In the UK, half year revenues were £232.7m, with an underlying operating loss of £3.7m. 

UK sales reached 82% of 2019 levels in the first six weeks of the second half, according to SSP, led by leisure travel in both the air and rail sectors, and the return of commuters to the workplace.

SSP says it expects sales in the second half of the year to be around 80-85% of pre Covid-19

levels and for full year sales to be in the region of £2 - £2.1bn, but that the final profit will be

dependent on the trajectory of the recovery and inflationary cost pressures.

The company currently has around 2,200 units open, representing more than 80% of the estate, while its new business pipeline saw around 50 new units opened in the first half of the year.

It expects to open 230 new sites over the next two years, adding a further £300m of annualised sales.

“The business is recovering well from a hugely challenging period,” says Patrick Coveney, CEO of SSP Group.

“We have seen a significant rebound in trade since the impact of Omicron, with revenues currently running at over 80% of pre Covid-19 levels and with a similar proportion of our sites now open.

“We anticipate a full recovery in leisure travel, which drives the majority of our business, and are confident that we are well positioned for the months and years ahead.”

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Casual Dining

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