News | Published July 01 2020

Upper Crust owner could axe 5,000 jobs

SSP Group, the company behind the chains Upper Crust, Camden Food Co, and Cabin, has revealed that up to 5,000 UK jobs could be lost as it restructures to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

SSP operates in over 30 different countries and boasts a global workforce of 39,000 across 2,800 outlets. However, the lack of passenger travel in train stations and airports due to the lockdown has hit sales hard, with jobs at SSP’s 580 UK outlets and head office now at risk as the firm seeks to balance its books.

Global sales over April and May this year were 95 per cent down on the same period in 2019, SSP said in a statement.

Less than ten of its UK outlets are currently open, and the group expects a mere fifth of its stores to be open by the autumn, confirming that they will reopen gradually as passenger demand increases.

Normally at this point of the year, the group employs around 9,000 people in UK-based roles. Its UK workforce has been furloughed under the government’s Job Retention Scheme since the early stages of the lockdown.

SSP chief executive Simon Smith said: “Covid-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact on the travel industry and on SSP's businesses in all geographies.

"We are beginning to see early signs of recovery in some parts of the world and are starting to open units as passenger demand picks up. However, in the UK the pace of the recovery continues to be slow.”

Smith added that should demand increase over the summer months, then more units will be reopened.

SSP said in its statement that it was confident it could operate “throughout even its most pessimistic scenario”, with access to around £750 million in liquidity.

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Authored by

Alexander Bridge-Wilkinson
Junior Editor
July 01 2020

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