SSP Group has reported revenue running at 87% of 2019 levels in its third quarter trading update, covering the period from 1 April to 30 June 2022.

For the nine-month period from 1 October 2021 to 30 June 2022, total group revenues averaged 72% of 2019 levels.

In its interim results announcement on 24 May, the food and beverage travel outlet operator reported revenue had averaged 83% of 2019 levels for the first six weeks of the third quarter.

Revenue has strengthened since, running at 89% of 2019 levels in the following seven weeks and leaving revenues at 87% of 2019 levels for the third quarter as a whole.

Based on current performance and travel sector recovery, the food and beverage travel outlet operator expects to deliver sales in the region of £2.1bn and EBITDA margin (pre-IFRS 16) in the region of 6%.

UK sales averaged 82%, with stronger trading in Air but weaker sales in Rail following industrial action in June. Geographically, recovery has been led by continental Europe and North America, where third quarter sales averaged 93% and 91% of 2019 levels, respectively.

Sales averaged 75% of 2019 levels in the rest of the world.

Performance has been driven by an ongoing recovery in passenger numbers – led by domestic and leisure travel in both air and rail – and longer dwell times in some markets. According to the operator, rail commuter travel is recovering, albeit at a slower pace than leisure travel.

SSP Group expressed confidence at the continued recovery of the travel sector, “notwithstanding the current challenges of airport disruption, labour shortages, and industrial action across certain air and rail markets”.

The group plans to mitigate inflationary pressures on its supply chain, labour, and energy costs through productivity and pricing initiatives. By 2025, it expects a pipeline of new contracts to add approximately £500m to revenues compared to 2019.

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