Wednesday 23 September 2020 8:33 am

Upper Crust owner SSP warns of ‘considerable’ job cuts

Upper Crust owner SSP today warned of “considerable” job losses as the company attempts to shore up its finances amid a collapse in sales during the coronavirus outbreak.

The travel food provider, which also owns brands including Camden Food Co, said it expected second-half sales to be 86 per cent lower year on year, equivalent to a revenue hit of roughly £1.3bn.

Read more: Upper Crust owner SSP to slash 5,000 jobs as coronavirus knocks travel sector

It added that earnings would fall in the middle of its forecasts with an operating loss of between £180m to £250m.

SSP said the loss would be mitigated by a range of cost-cutting measures, including job cuts.

“It is with regret that the prolonged nature of this crisis has resulted in us having to restructure and make considerable job losses in order to protect the business,” said chief executive Simon Smith.

“These are always extremely difficult decisions, and we are supporting our colleagues throughout this process.”

It comes after the food group announced plans to slash 5,000 jobs in July, with the majority of the cuts impacting its UK operations.

SSP, which specialises in food outlets in airports and train stations, has been hit by a collapse in passenger numbers since the start of the Covid-19 crisis in March.

The company said its weekly sales are currently running at roughly 76 per cent below last year.

This marks an improvement on the third quarter, when sales dropped 95 per cent in April and May and fell 90 per cent in June.

Read more: Upper Crust owner SSP asks shareholders to reinvest dividend to raise £27m

SSP said the pick-up in sales had mainly been driven by continental Europe, including a stronger recovery of the rail business in Germany and France.

Across the group roughly a third — or 1,000 — of the company’s outlets have reopened, ahead of previous expectations.