SSP sales at 57% of pre-Covid levels in recent weeks

SSP sales at 57% of pre-Covid levels in recent weeks

SSP says its sales are recovering after the lifting of curbs in the UK and some European markets.

Upper Crust owner SSP says that its sales are recovering after a slowdown in recent weeks, when fewer people travelled due to Omicron-led curbs that hit its stores at train stations and airports.

The company predominantly operates units across airports and railway stations in its UK and Ireland markets, with own brands including Millie’s Cookies and Upper Crust.  It also includes names such as M&S Simply Food, Starbucks and Burger King in its portfolio, which it operates under franchise arrangements.

The London-listed firm said it made an underlying core profit in the first quarter to December, and this month repaid in full the £300m Covid-19 UK government financing.

The group said its sales in the latest eight weeks to January 30 were at around 57% of 2019 levels, down from the nine weeks before that when sales ran at 66% of the 2019 levels.

SSP had lagged a broader food industry recovery from pandemic lows as most of its stores have been more susceptible to Covid-related disruptions to travel due to their location at transit points.

It still expects its like-for-like revenue and profit margins to broadly return to 2019 levels by 2024.

In November, Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney said he would step down from the position in March to become group CEO of SSP.