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Strong trading at North American airports lifts SSP Group’s sales

SSP Group reports North American revenues are at 123% of pre-pandemic levels with further sales growth forecast following its acquisition of Midfield Concessions Enterprise 

Increased air travel was cited as a key factor behind SSP Group's sales growth in North America | Photo credit: SSP Group


Global travel concession operator SSP Group has reported strong revenue growth across its business, led by domestic air travel and new business in North America. 

At an investor day in New York, SSP Group said total sales had reached 110% of pre-pandemic levels during the ten weeks 1 April-11 June 2023, up from 104% in the six months ended 31 March 2023. 

North America sales reached 123% of pre-pandemic levels during the period and were boosted by higher air passenger volumes, including more ‘bleisure’ – combined business and leisure – trips, SSP said. 

The travel concession operator has also completed the acquisition of Midfield Concessions' units at six airports across the US.

Announced in May 2023, the deal will extend the group’s presence at 30 of the largest airports in the country and is expected to boost revenues by $100m. SSP Group forecasts the aquisition will deliver‘a modest level of sales benefit’ in the second half of its financial year, ending 30 September 2023. 

Revenues in the group’s Rest of the World division are 15% higher than in 2019 and 14 above in Continental Europe, with SSP Group’s performance in both regions aided by an uplift in international air travel. 

The travel concession operator’s UK business remains its only segment performing below pre-pandemic levels, although sales in the region have increased to 94% of 2019 figures. 

SSP Group said it will strengthen its own brand proposition across the UK rail network moving forward, with a focus on business retention. 

However, it forecasts sales growth will be led by air travel trade in North America and Asia Pacific and will consequently ‘pivot’ efforts towards ‘higher growth markets’. 

“We are pleased to report that the strong momentum across our business has continued into the second half of the year. The strongest regional revenue performance continues to be in North America, reflecting both the growth in domestic air travel as well as the scale of our net gains in the region. Our acquisition of the Midfield Concessions business in the US, which includes 40 units across seven airports, has now largely completed, adding to our excitement about the prospects for our North American business,” said Patrick Coveney, CEO of SSP Group. 

SSP added it was confident in achieving its £3bn ($3.8bn) full-year revenue target for 2023. The business has also raised its full-year 2024 outlook to £3.4bn ($4.3bn). 

In the 12 months ended 30 September 2022, SSP Group generated 162% year-on-year revenue growth to reach £2.2bn ($2.7bn). 

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