Food and drink travel operator SSP has issued its first quarter trading update for 2018 – revealing that total group revenue is up 13.5% as are like-for-like sales at +2.7%.

With the financial year running from 30 September 2017 – 30 September 2018, Q1 covers 1 October – 31 December 2017, which SSP called “a good start to the year” having made “encouraging” progress in its strategic initiatives.

As well as increasing its net contracts by 8.1% – driven by “significant contributions” from North America and the rest of the world – the group also reported:

Group revenue on a constant currency basis was up 13.5%
Like-for-like sales grew by 2.7%
Net contract gains of 8.1%
Acquiring its joint venture in India, TFS, added a further 2.7% to sales
Total group revenue growth at actual exchange rates was 12.2%

Commenting on the results, the group said: “Like-for-like sales growth in the UK and Continental Europe was in line with expectations, driven by the ongoing roll out of strategic initiatives and increasing passenger numbers.

“In North America sales were driven by robust passenger growth…while the rest of the world (including TFS) continued to see good like-for-like sales growth.

“Looking forward to the full year, our expectation for like-for-like sales growth for the group remains unchanged, at between 2% and 3%.”

It is also hoping to continue with its expansion plans with an “encouraging pipeline of new contracts and the deferral of redevelopments at some of its airports” – anticipating net contract gains to be around 4% for the full year. Having agreed to acquire part of the Stockheim group in December, SSP is expecting to complete the deal early this year.

The group summarised: “The new financial year has started well and the pipeline of new contracts is encouraging. While a degree of uncertainty always exists around passenger numbers in the short term, we continue to be well placed to benefit from the structural growth opportunities in our markets.”