Upper Crust owner’s weekly sales down to 24% of normal levels

Upper Crust

SSP Group – the transport hub F&B operator – said its weekly sales are running at just 24% of what they were a year ago.

The company, whose brands include Upper Crust and Cafe Ritazza, has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, as it runs thousands of sites in airports and train stations.

A change in government advice this week, urging people to work from home if they can, is set to heap more misery on the firm after it saw weekly sales at the height of lockdown fall to 5% of normal levels.

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Across the group, the business has now reopened just over a third of its units, which equates to around 1,000 sites. That is ahead of the expectations it set out at during its interim results in June.

The company said its approach to unit openings continues to be systematic, with sites only being opened selectively and where they will achieve break-even levels of sales, even at low levels of passenger activity.

Overall sales in the second half of the year are expected to be approximately 86% lower year-on-year, resulting in a reduction in revenue of around £1.3 billion compared to last year.

SSP said that extensive management action to reduce its cost base, notably rent, overheads and labour, means that despite the weaker sales the operating loss in the second half is likely to be in the middle of the £180m to £250m range it previously forecast.

Simon Smith, CEO of SSP Group, said: “Covid-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact on the travel industry and on SSP’s businesses in all geographies. Our first priority throughout this crisis has been the health, safety and welfare of our people and our customers. We have taken rapid and decisive action to reduce cost, preserve cash and to substantially strengthen the group’s financial position.

“We have seen some improvement in passenger demand since the start of the crisis and we have reopened units swiftly and profitably in response to this, with over one third of our units now trading. Our model is flexible and we will continue to align unit openings with demand, meeting the needs of our customers whilst managing operating costs and cash flow tightly.”

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Tags : Cafe RitazzaSSP GroupUpper Crust
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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