Global food retailer SSP Group has suffered at the hands of the strong pound in its first quarter with total revenue down 0.1% year-on-year.
Sterling strengthened against many of SSP’s key currencies, such as the Euro, Norwegian Krone and the Swedish Krona, in the three months to 31 December 2014.
The group, which owns outlets at airports, train stations and motorway service stations under brands including Upper Crust, Starbucks and Burger King, said sales had increased by 2.9% – and 2.7% on a like-for-like basis – when the currency translations had been stripped out.
Like-for-like sales growth benefited from strong performances in the UK, North America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, but SSP added that, as expected, trading had remained “challenging” in some parts of continental Europe, particularly in France and Germany.
“In terms of new business, we are making good progress in developing our pipeline, and continue to expect a stronger net contract gains performance in the second half of this financial year,” the group, led by former WH Smith CEO Kate Swann, said.
Its outlook for the full year remained unchanged but there was a “degree of uncertainty” around passenger numbers in the short-term, the business warned.
SSP, which operates about 2,000 concessions in 29 countries, floated on the London Stock Exchange in July 2014 at 210p – the lower end of its expected range – valuing the company at almost £1bn. Its shares have since climbed to highs of 295p in December but fell this morning by 2.5% from yesterday’s closing price of 270p.