SSP Group has posted like for like growth of 0.7% in the UK, in the six months to 31 March 2018.

The global group said concessions in UK airports were stronger, driven by increasing passenger numbers, while rail remains growth remained soft, partly affected by the poor weather.

Underlying operating profit for the UK increased by 12.5%, on a constant currency basis, to £33.4m, which SSP said was a result of operating efficiency programmes and lower depreciation mitigating the impact of lower like for like sales and inflationary pressures on food and labour.

In continental Europe, like-for-like growth was 2.2%, underlying operating profit increased to £21.8m, an increase of 9.% on a constant currency basis.

Globally, underlying operating profit was £55.2m, up 32.6% at constant currency, revenue was £1.17bn, up 11.9% at constant currency, and like-for-like sales were up 2.8%, driven by air passenger travel and retail initiatives.

Kate Swann, chief executive of SSP Group, said: “SSP has delivered another strong performance in the first half of 2018. Operating profit was up 32.6% at constant currency, driven by good like-for-like sales growth, significant new contract openings and further operational improvements. We have continued to grow our presence across the world, particularly in North America and Asia and our new business in India is performing well.

“Looking forward, the second half has started in line with our expectations and whilst a degree of uncertainty always exists around passenger numbers in the short term, we continue to be well placed to benefit from the structural growth opportunities in our markets and our programme of operational improvements.”

SSP said it had performed strongly in North America and the Rest of the World, large and growing markets where it has a relatively small share, and which provided attractive expansion opportunities and pipeline of new contracts.

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