The travel food and beverage operator says revenue growth at the start of its new financial year is ‘encouraging’ and paves the way for further growth, despite its UK & Ireland business yet to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels
SSP Group's UK & Ireland sales increased 46% but remain at 83% of pre-pandemic revenues | Photo credit: SSP Group
SSP Group is trading above pre-pandemic levels across its North America, Continental Europe and Rest of World divisions, however, its UK & Ireland operations have yet to fully recover.
Reporting on the four months ended 31 January 2023, the company said group sales of £871m ($1.05bn) represented 67% year-on-year growth and were 103% of 2019 levels.
Regionally, SSP Group cited North America as trading at 125% of 2019 levels and 75% higher than 2021, and Continental Europe at 108% of 2019 levels and 56% higher than the previous year.
The two regions contributed revenues of £196m ($236m) and £330m (£398m) respectively.
In the UK & Ireland SSP Group sales increased 46% year-on-year to reach £215m ($259m) but remain at 83% of pre-pandemic revenues. The company said business from air travel continues to gain momentum but overall sales in the UK were negatively impacted by industrial action across the rail network during December 2022 and January 2023.
The company’s Rest of World segment achieved year-on-year sales growth of 250% to reach £130m ($157m), trading 1% higher than in 2019. SSP Group cited ‘an exceptional performance’ in India, where its joint-venture revenues with domestic food retailer Travel Food Services more than doubled year-on-year, with strong performances also reported across Australia, Thailand and the Middle East.
“The strong momentum in performance that we saw across the business in the second half of last year has continued into the new financial year, demonstrating the high quality of our business model. We have headroom for further growth and returns in multiple markets across the world. In particular, we see significant momentum and potential to accelerate expansion across the North America and Rest of World markets where revenues are now growing rapidly and which together are expected to account for approximately 40% of the Group by 2025. In addition to this we continue to expand in a targeted way in the UK, Europe and the Middle East,” said Patrick Coveney, CEO, SSP Group.
SSP Group is forecasting revenues of £2.9bn ($3.5bn) in 2023 and £3.3bn ($4bn) in 2024. It expects overall sales for its UK business, which accounts for a quarter of SSP Group’s total revenues, to reach pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023.