Upper Crust Owner Says Sales Are Improving And Cost Cuts Are Paying Off

By Dave Simpson
Upper Crust Owner Says Sales Are Improving And Cost Cuts Are Paying Off

The owner of the Upper Crust and Caffè Ritazza snack chains, SSP, has that its sales have finally started to recover from coronavirus lockdowns and has forecast a smaller than feared cash burn for the second half of its financial year.

The company, which made approximately 37% of its 2019 revenues in continental Europe and approximately 30% in Ireland and the UK, said that it still expects its revenues to plunge 86%, or £1.3 billion, in the six months to September 30.

However, it added that its operating losses for the period will be in the middle of a £180 million to £250 million range forecast in July and cut its prediction for cash burn to £250 million to £270 million from an earlier prediction of £340 million to £440 million.

"We have seen some improvement in passenger demand since the start of the crisis ... with over one-third of our units now trading," CEO Simon Smith said.

SSP, which said in July that it might cut up to 5,000 jobs in Britain to reduce costs, did not give any update on the layoffs. It has been cutting investment to a minimum and stopping shareholder payouts to conserve cash.


Weekly Sales

SSP said that its weekly sales have improved compared with the third quarter and are approximately 76% below last year following a stronger recovery in continental Europe, although Britain, North America and the rest of the world remained weak.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.