Upper Crust owner SSP has said it saw “positive momentum” in the latest quarter as more people travelled for leisure.

The company, which specialises in running food outlets at travel locations, said it is on track to meet financial targets for the year as a result.

SSP, which employs 43,000 people globally, told shareholders on Wednesday: “The second half of the financial year has started well, with the positive momentum continuing into the third quarter, and our expectations for the full year remain unchanged.”

It said sales grew by 16% in the third quarter, from April 1 to June 30, with growth accelerating from the previous quarter.

This included 6% like-for-like growth, alongside boosts from new contract wins and acquisitions.

The company said it saw a strong sales performance across all regions driven by “an increasing demand for leisure travel”.

Sales grew by 27% in North America on the back of a 14% boost from its acquisitions of Midfield Concessions and Mack II in the US and ECG in Canada.

The UK was also strong, rising 12% as like-for-like sales were driven higher by increased air passenger numbers and a reduction in train strikes compared with the previous year.

“We are well positioned for the peak summer trading period and to deliver results in line with our planning assumptions for FY24,” the company said.

Jefferies analyst James Wheatcroft said: “Today’s trading update should provide reassurance around second-half performance, especially in the context of a weak year-to-date share price.”

In early trading, shares in SSP Group jumped by around 11%.

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2024-07-10T08:13:10Z dg43tfdfdgfd