Profits at Starbucks and Upper Crust travel sites operator SSP have soared by almost a quarter as sales break the £1bn mark.

Announcing its financial results for the six months to 31 March 2017, the international business reported revenues up 8.1% year on year at constant currency to £1,073m, with underlying operating profit up 24.7% to £42.8m.

"SSP has delivered a good performance in the first half of 2017 and continues to make progress on its strategic initiatives, said CEO Kate Swann.

“Constant currency operating profit was up 25%, driven by good like-for-like sales growth and further operational improvements,” she added.

The business reported a strong period of new contract openings that had grown its presence in North America, the Asia Pacific region and elsewhere.

“The pipeline is robust and we are pleased with the new contracts won in the first half,” said Swann.

"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 last year announced it had secured an agreement with Paul Hollywood to open a new bakery called Knead. The "upmarket bakery concept" will open this year and will sell "artisan sandwiches, cakes and pastries" - including a sausage roll that will be sold by the inch.”