SSP half year results fell 8.4% due to the impact of coronavirus

Like-for-like turnover fell 8.4% at travel sites operator SSP due to the impact of coronavirus.

The company operates brands including Starbucks and Upper Crust at railway stations and airports and has been hit hard by the sharp decline in travel during the Covid-19 outbreak.

SSP previously revealed that like-for-like sales in the UK and Continental Europe had crashed 80-85% in late March.

In its results for the six months ended 31 March, published this week, the company reported revenue of £1,214.6m, down 2.7% at constant currency, with like-for-like sales down 8.4%.

It made an operating loss of £6.7m on a reported basis, with a £34.3m loss before tax.

SSP reported that, before the outbreak, it had performed well and in line with expectations, delivering “solid” like-for-like sales growth and net contract gains, particularly in North America and Continental Europe.

Since the outbreak it has taken action including:

  • Temporary closure of the majority of sites, with staff furloughed
  • Creation of new health and safety protocols
  • Closure of offices and supported staff to work from home
  • Negotiated more flexible rent terms
  • Reduction in salaries across senior management, executive committee and board
  • Cut discretionary spend and capital investment to a minimum
  • Suspended share buyback programme.

“Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the travel sector,” said SSP Group CEO Simon Smith.

“Our response has been to take quick and decisive action to protect our people and our business, whilst around the world our colleagues have helped and supported their local communities.

“Although challenging, it was a great illustration of SSP at its best and demonstrated the resilience of our teams. I’m immensely proud of what’s been achieved.”