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SSP Upper Crust

SSP Group has posted third-quarter results that suggest its recovery from the pandemic is gathering pace, with revenue reaching 87% of 2019 levels.

In a trading update covering the period from 1 April to 30 June 2022, the travel food and drink operator said its revenue performance had been driven by an ongoing recovery in passenger numbers as well as longer passenger dwell times in some markets.

The group – which owns travel-hub bakery-led brands including Upper Crust and Ritazza – added that the recovery had been driven by domestic and leisure travel in both air and rail sectors, with rail commuter travel recovering at a slower pace than leisure travel.

In the UK, SSP’s sales averaged 82% of 2019 levels for the quarter, driven by a further strengthening of sales in air, whereas trading in rail was impacted by the recent nationwide industrial action.

The group pointed out that there remains “considerable uncertainty in the macroeconomic and geopolitical backdrop”, but insisted that it is well positioned to benefit from a continued recovery of the travel sector, notwithstanding the current challenges of airport disruption, labour shortages and industrial action across certain air and rail markets.

“In common with the entire hospitality sector, we continue to face widespread and increasing inflationary pressures impacting our supply chain, labour and energy costs, and these are anticipated to persist well into next year,” a spokesperson SSP said. “However, we are confident in our ability to manage these pressures through productivity and pricing initiatives and expect to mitigate the impact on profit, whilst sustaining the positive momentum in consumer demand.”

SSP said that by 2025, its pipeline of new contracts is expected to add approximately £500m to revenues compared to 2019. “As the business continues to recover, we expect the mobilisation of this pipeline to accelerate,” the spokesperson added.