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Coronavirus: Upper Crust owner warns of 'extensive action to reduce the costs'

Lianna Brinded
·Head of Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
A logo is pictured above a closed-down and shuttered Upper Crust food outlet in a train station in London on July 1, 2020. Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images
SSP is a food and beverage concessions operator in travel locations and makes most of its sales from commuters. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

The owner of Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza, SSP Group (SSPG.L), has revealed that it is taking “extensive action to reduce the cost base and preserve cash” as the spread of coronavirus is set to drag sales down further by 86% year-on-year.

SSP is a food and beverage concessions operator in travel locations and makes most of its sales from commuters.

SSP said in a pre-close trading statement that for the second half of the financial year ending 30 September 2020, sales were approximately 95% lower in April and May and 90% lower in June. While it said that it saw sales improvement in Continental Europe, revenue in the UK, North America and the rest of the world saw weekly sales remain around 80-85% lower year-on-year.

“COVID-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact on the travel industry and on SSP's businesses in all geographies,” said Simon Smith, CEO of SSP Group.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Caffe Ritazza and Upper Crust owner may axe up to 5,000 jobs

“Our first priority throughout this crisis has been the health, safety and welfare of our people and our customers. We have taken rapid and decisive action to reduce cost, preserve cash and to substantially strengthen the Group's financial position.

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

While the group did not specify what those “extensive actions” are, in July it announced up to 5,000 jobs could be axed in the UK.

“The reality is that passenger numbers still remain at very low levels, a reflection of the extent and duration of the current restrictions in place,” it said in a statement at the time.