5,000 jobs face axe as Upper Crust feels pain of pandemic
UPPER Crust food and drink chain owner SSP is axing up to 5,000 jobs as it rushes to restructure its business in the face of plunging passenger numbers at railway stations and airports.
The FTSE 250 company – which operates across 36 countries and is focused on transport hubs – said passenger demand remained very low, with sales down about 90pc in June compared to a year earlier. Sales in April and May fell 95pc.
The job cuts will affect its head office and UK operations, it said, with more than half of its British staff at risk.
Simon Smith, SSP’s chief executive, said: “In the UK the pace of the recovery continues to be slow. In response to this, we are now taking further action to protect the business and create the right base from which to rebuild our operations.
“Regrettably, we are starting a collective consultation which will affect our UK colleagues. These are extremely difficult decisions, and our main priority will be to conduct the process carefully and fairly.”
The firm said as many as 5,000 positions could be culled if the recovery fails to speed up. Before the pandemic, it had about 40,000 staff worldwide, with about 9,000 in the UK.
Airbus and retailer TM Lewin also announced sweeping job cuts this week, adding to the grim toll of virusrelated losses.
SSP said the reorganisation was expected to cost between £8m and £10m.
Most of its UK business is in railway stations, where passenger numbers remain about 85pc lower than last year. Most of its airport stores remain closed. It expects only about a fifth of its UK units to have reopened by the autumn.
Shares closed down 2.3pc at 251.4p.