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Just Eat orders set to be in focus as pandemic boost wanes

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Fast food delivery giant Just Eat will reveal whether demand has remained buoyant even as the boost from the pandemic fades when it releases its latest trading figures on Wednesday.

The Amsterdam-based firm revealed last month that revenues jumped 33% in 2021, on top of impressive growth in a pandemic-fuelled 2020, when lockdowns forced people to eat at home.

It forecast growth in orders on a gross transaction value basis to slow this year, but still remain in the “mid-teens” and insisted it was on the path to profitability after heavy investment saw annual losses widen last year.

Jitse Groen
Just Eat Takeaway chief Jitse Groen has insisted the group is on the path to profit (JustEat/PA)

However, the lifting of Covid restrictions means eating out and overseas holidays are back on the agenda, which may knock demand for takeaways at home.

Rival Deliveroo recently said that while sales rose 11% in the first quarter, the amount spent per order fell and founder Will Shu said consumer behaviour may “moderate” over the year.

Experts at Numis Securities are expecting Just East’s orders to rise by 4% year-on-year to 277 million, or 7.33 billion euros (£6.1 billion) by gross transaction value, in the first quarter.

On a two year pre-pandemic comparison basis, this would mark an acceleration in growth to 147%, up from 133% in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The performance is set to be led by Northern Europe, where Numis sees growth of 10%, followed by mid-single digit growth in the UK and Ireland.

But it sees orders slipping by 3% in North America, where it is being held back by underperformance at Grubhub.

Just Eat recently confirmed it remains in talks over a potential strategic partnership for its US business GrubHub, which it bought last June following regulatory clearance, as it looks to bolster its position in the market.

The group said on unveiling final results last month that it was “rapidly progressing” towards profit in 2022, including in the UK, where it spent on winning online share, ramping up marketing campaigns and cutting delivery fees to customers.

London-listed Just Eat reported pre-tax losses of 1.1 billion euros (£910 million) for 2021, against losses of 147 million euros (£122 million) in 2020 – despite raking in a mammoth 5.3 billion euros (£4.4 billion) in revenues.

In the UK and Ireland, revenues jumped 63% to 1.2 billion euros (£993 million) as
orders jumped 52%, though the firm still swung to a 107 million euro (£88
million) loss.

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