The owner of Upper Crust has suffered a £300 million loss as sales slowly improve.

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The owner of Upper Crust has suffered a £300 million loss as sales slowly improve.

Despite sinking deeper into the red, the owner of Upper Crust and Ritazza is seeing signs of recovery.

SSP, a transportation catering company, confessed that income had plummeted in the six months leading up to the end of March. They were down 78.9% to £256.7 million, resulting in a widening of the company’s pre-tax losses from £34.3 million to £299.7 million. Business is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, according to the group. The company has been hit hard by the drop in rail commuter numbers and the suspension of foreign air travel by Covid-19.

SSP also owns and operates Yo! Sushi, Starbucks, Burger King, Jamie Oliver, and other food franchises in airports throughout the world.

SSP had put in a solid performance, according to CEO Simon Smith, despite the “extremely hard” environment it faces.

He also stated that, as a result of the vaccination deployment, passenger numbers and demand were beginning to recover in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Sales rose in the first week of June, but were still down 70% from the same period last year. Furthermore, after obtaining £475 million from investors in April, SSP’s balance sheet has improved from the first half.

“The rebound in domestic and leisure travel has already commenced in a number of our regions, and our staff are hard at work reopening units in response to passenger demand,” Smith added.

Given the impact of the global coronavirus outbreak on how individuals live their lives, Hargreaves Lansdown senior investing and markets analyst Susannah Streeter said SSP’s road back to health “seems tough.”

“The working from home trend shows no signs of abating, and the captive commuter market is at risk of disappearing in the long run,” she said.

“Auditors have placed doubt on the group’s capacity to continue as a going concern, with footfall across rail and air networks expected to remain modest for much longer, and substantial uncertainty hanging over the group.”

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