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SSP Group reports half-year loss but says travel hub recovery has begun

SSP Group continues to grapple with Covid-19 disruption to international travel and anticipates like-for-like revenues will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024

An SSP-operated Upper Crust store in Helsinki, Finland | Photo credit: SSP group 

Announcing its half-year results to 31 March 2021, the troubled travel concession operator reported revenues of £256.7m ($363.8), down 78.9% compared the same period in its previous financial year.
Like-for-like sales were down 79%, SSP Group said, with the company reporting an operating loss of £219.9m ($311.6m) for the period.
Highlighting the uphill struggle travel concession operators face amid ongoing Covid-19 travel disruption, SSP Group reported North American sales in the first week of June 2021 were 53% of those recorded in the same period in 2019. Continental Europe and UK sales were at 29% and 25% respectively. Meanwhile, sales across the rest of the world were just 17% of 2019 levels.
Nevertheless, SSP characterised its performance as ‘resilient’ and said the business was in a ‘strong position to benefit from the expected recovery of the travel market over the medium-term.’ The company expects like-for-like sales will recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2024.
Commenting on the results, Simon Smith, CEO, SSP Group, said: “The recovery in domestic and leisure travel has now begun in a number of our territories, and our teams are busy re-opening units in line with passenger demand.
“Over the past year we’ve strengthened our competitive advantages and created a more flexible operating model. We have a strong balance sheet and can see many opportunities to accelerate growth as the market recovers and to deliver sustainable growth for the benefit of all our stakeholders.” 
SSP Group operates around 2,800 outlets at 300 railway stations and 180 airports in 36 countries. It runs its own café brands, such as Caffè Ritazza, Upper Crust and Camden Food Co. in addition to licensed brands such as Starbucks, Pret A Manger, and Burger King.

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