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Tue 10th Jun 2014 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

UK sales push Europe ahead by 0.4% for McDonald’s: Sales in the UK and France at McDonald’s offset weaker sales in Germany to push the company’s like-for-likes ahead by 0.4% in Europe in May. However, it continued to suffer weak sales in the United States, where the company has sought to boost flagging sales with a renewed focus on its core menu items, while updating its Ronald McDonald and Happy Meal branding. The company blamed “ongoing broad-based challenges” as it posted a 1% fall in like-for-like sales for US restaurants open at least 13 months. It said system-wide sales in May rose 2.4%, or 3.4% excluding currency fluctuations. The company’s Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region posted like-for-like sales growth of 2.5%, with strong performance in China reflecting a comparison against last year’s avian flu-pressured results. Several markets in the region posted positive results, the company said, although Japan continued to experience weakness. Meanwhile, McDonald’s have voiced its support for a rise in the minimum wage in the United States. Last month it was subject to protests from workers demanding $15 an hour. McDonald’s chief executive, Don Thompson, said during debate at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management last month: “You know, our franchisees look at me when I say this and they start to worry: ‘Don, don’t you say it. Don’t you say we support $10.10’,” according to a Chicago Tribune report. “I will tell you we will support legislation that moves forward.” Thompson has insisted that his company pays more than the minimum wage, and various estimates put the median McDonald’s worker’s wage at between $8 and $9 an hour.
   

Industry News:

ALMR launches new logo: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has unveiled a new logo with the aim of promoting a fresh, progressive image for licensed hospitality. After the association’s recent merger with BEDA and a surge in the number of casual dining operators being welcomed into membership, the new logo is designed to characterise the diversity of the licensed hospitality sector and features the strapline: “Daytime, Nighttime, Anytime”. The ALMR’s strategic affairs director, Kate Nicholls, said: “A fresh, new ALMR logo coincides with the launch of Manifesto: Promoting jobs and growth in licensed hospitality and reflects the diversity of the ALMR’s membership and the sector as a whole.”
   
Lynx Purchasing urges closer supplier relationships: Hospitality businesses will need to forge closer relationships with their suppliers in order to reassure customers about the integrity of the supply chain, the buying specialist Lynx Purchasing believes. With signs that consumers are starting to spend more on eating out as the economy picks up, Lynx Purchasing believes that an increasing number will seek out operators who can give them confidence in what they are eating. As the company publishes the summer 2014 edition of its Market Forecast, Lynx says it expects restaurants, pubs and hotels that can form genuine partnerships with suppliers to gain an advantage with customers. Lynx’s managing director, John Pinder, said: “With last year’s horsemeat scandal still fresh in consumers’ memories, newspaper headlines in May focused attention on the use of halal meal by a number of restaurant and foodservice businesses. It was clear that one of the concerns for consumers was that operators may not be asking their suppliers the right questions. As consumers become increasingly interested in the provenance of their food, more of the operators we work with are asking us to link them with suppliers that share the same values and commitment.”
   
Small operators get chance to trade at Spinningfields: Manchester Spinningfields is launching a competition that will offer small operators the chance to trade at the venue. The Kitchens Leftbank competition, launching on Thursday, 12 June, will offer six lucky food and drink operators a licensed space in the heart of Spinningfields with the chance to win a permanent residence. Innovative entrepreneurs must have an existing business to enter and will have one week to submit their initial pitch. The 12 most exciting ideas will be shortlisted and have ten days to submit their business plan and also give a short presentation to the judging panel. Six finalists will then be chosen and given premises for six to 12 months, opening their doors to the public on 1 September. The six finalists will be handed a plain, unbranded and undecorated space with a kitchen, storage, refrigeration, service counter and indoor and outdoor seating areas. After the six to 12-month period is up, a winning vendor will be chosen. The winner will secure a prime unit for their business and the backing and partnership of Spinningfields’ property developer, Allied London. Entrants will be judged on criteria including sales, concept, product, social media, brand, sustainability and a public vote. Allied London’s chief executive, Michael Ingall, said: “In international cities around the world, we’ve seen the most innovative, independent businesses get an opportunity to operate alongside premium brands. Manchester has a flourishing food and beverage scene but the city centre isn’t an affordable location for new businesses to really make a go of it. The launch of The Kitchens Leftbank at Spinningfields will give these operators an unrivalled opportunity to establish themselves without the extensive overheads other small businesses face when starting up.”
   

Company News:

Chilango to launch burrito bond on Crowdcube: Mexican brand Chilango, which has seven sites and was founded in 2007 by Eric Partaker and Dan Houghton, is to launch a ‘burrito mini bond’ tomorrow on crowd-funding website Crowdcube. The bond will raise between £1m and £3m and pay investors 8% interest, The Daily Telegraph reports. The funds will enable three restaurants to be opened in central London this year prior to a national roll-out over five years. “We want to add a handful of restaurants each year after,” said Partaker. “Longer term, we think that people will buy into Chilango the world over.” Chilango turned over £4.3m last year. The mini-bond is an unlisted product and can’t be traded in secondary markets. Those investing £10,000 or more receive a Chilango Black Card and receive free food at Chilango restaurants for four years. “Pret only had one unit for the first four years and look how successful that has become,” added Partaker. “We know what works and what doesn’t so we can grow much more quickly. We’ve earned our way into this phase and we’re going to be fiercely competing.”
   
Reuters – banks working on £600m debt package for PizzaExpress sale: A number of banks are working on debt financing packages of up to £600m to back a potential sale of PizzaExpress, Reuters has reported. The private equity firm Cinven acquired Gondola in a public to private transaction in 2007 for £1bn. The sale has attracted interest from a number of potential buyers eager for deals after a lack of M&A so far this year. Two private equity firms and one trade buyer are expected to have made it through to the final round of an auction process on 26 June, the banking sources said. Bankers are considering leveraged loans and high yield bonds to back a buy-out totalling 5.5 to six times PizzaExpress’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of approximately £90m to £100m, the banking sources told Reuters. “There is enough capacity in the sterling market for a deal of this size at the moment,” one of the sources said.
   
Bitters ’n’ Twisted reports profits up 39% in 2013: The Birmingham-based multiple operator Bitters ’n’ Twisted Venues has reported an increase in turnover for the year ending 31 August 2013 of 12% to £5.2m across its six venues. Like-for-like sales increased 3% to £4.4m. Pre-tax profits in the period also increased by 39% to £636,000 as like-for like profits increased by 34% to £620,000. Between September 2013 and May 2014,the average monthly sales increase year-on-year has been 7.4% across the group. Matt Scriven, Bitters ’n’ Twisted’s managing director, said: “The 12-month period to August 2013 was very much one of consolidation and profit development across the estate, tweaking the offer where needed and focusing on staff retention and the development of the next generation of managers. The lack of any new site openings in the 12 month period also meant that profits were secured and a solid platform now exists for future growth opportunities.” In October 2013, the operations team was strengthened with the arrival of Jeremy Kynaston, previously of Peach Pub Company. Scriven said: “The establishment of a quality operations team will allow future growth to take place both organically and with further new sites. Legals have commenced on a site in Worcester for the second Bodega, a Latin American restaurant and bar and it is hoped that a further one to two sites a year will be established as part of the target of organically growing this element of the business over the next five to ten years.”
   
Former Brunning & Price deputy managing director takes Faucet Inn role: Chris Stagg, who was previously deputy managing director at Brunning & Price and head of operations at Hall & Woodhouse, has taken a permanent role at Faucet Inn, the London-focused bar operator led by Steve Cox. Stagg, who left Brunning & Price in February this year, set up his own consultancy, Innside Hospitality, which has been advising a number of sector businesses. He has taken the position of operations director at Faucet.
   
News agency names Patisserie Holding float at May’s deal of the month: Patisserie Holdings flotation on the London Stock Exchange’s junior market has been named Insider’s Deal of the Month for May 2014. Insider editor Kurt Jacobs said: “The idea of quality coffee shops and specialty sandwich bars finding a natural home on the stock market might seem a little strange to some. Yet Patisserie Holdings has hit two zeitgeists at the same time. The first is the public’s desire for affordable quality – a few pence more for a well-prepared salad and mackerel baguette or double chocolate dream gateau is within most people’s budgets. The second is the stock market, particularly AIM, becoming an affordable luxury for many businesses. A flotation is now being perceived as a viable alternative to private equity investments, loans or a sale for entrepreneurs both releasing their money and getting funds to expand the business.”
   
Gordon Ramsay takes Living Room site in the West End, confirms details of Hong Kong opening: Gordon Ramsay is to open a restaurant, Bread Street Kitchen, in the former Living Room site in Heddon Street, just off Regent Street, in the West End of London. The venue is expected to on in the autumn. Ramsay beat off competition from a host of operators to win the 9,000 sq ft site, which is owned by the Crown Estate. Gordon Ramsay Group was advised by the consultancy Restaurant Property and the Crown Estate by CBRE. Ramsay has also confirmed that he will open a branch of his London establishment Bread Street Kitchen in September in the Hotel LKF on Wyndham Street in Central, Hong Kong. The restaurant will serve “British European” food, with dishes from its London counterpart. Ramsay said: “This is an exciting step for the group, not only to be entering the Asian market which has such an amazing food culture but also to bring one of our concepts which has proved such a success in London.”
   
FRAE re-opens at Heathrow pop-up: FRAE frozen yoghurt has reopened this week in Heathrow Airport Terminal 5’s “pop up” shop for the second successive summer. FRAE yoghurt is created on a dairy farm in North Wales and shipped and sold from its temporary residency on the upper level at Terminal 5. FRAE currently operates six other stores across London. Founders Donald Murray and Martyn Pollock stumbled upon frozen yogurt in New York and immediately saw the potential of the product in the UK. The word “frae” itself “from” in Scots. Nick Ayerst, managing director of TRG Concessions, said: “We are delighted to work with FRAE again after such a successful and rewarding partnership last year. The brand continues to inspire, due to the natural and fresh ethos that runs through everything they do. With frozen yoghurt ever-increasing in popularity and the summer season ahead we look forward to cooling down and refreshing Heathrow’s T5 passengers this summer.”
   
SABMiller to step up craft beer production: SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewer by sales, is making an “intense” effort to ramp up its share of the premium beer market in the United States, where it has been caught on the hop by the explosion of local high-price craft beers. Alan Clark, SABMiller’s chief executive, said in an interview with the Financial Times that the company, which produces of Miller Lite, Foster’s and Peroni, is aiming for a market share “well north” of 20% of the value of US premium beer market, from 14% currently. He said: “We’ve got to shift our portfolio to premium. That’s clearly a priority that the team now understand and are working on it,” speaking of the “intense activity” within MillerCoors, the group’s US joint venture. While one third of beer volumes sold in the US is premium beer, that category accounted for only 8% of SABMiller’s sales. Over the past 18 months, the group, which trails larger global rival Anheuser-Busch InBev in the US market, has launched a range of new varieties and brands, including Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Batch 19, Third Shift, and Blue Moon seasonal beers, and acquired Crispin Cider, a super premium cider. Clark said: “Let’s take the criticism, that the scale brewers have been slow to innovate and to bring exciting, fresh and new brews. That’s probably correct. The reality, though, is we’ve recognised that and we’re moving very quickly.” He said the largest craft beer in the US, Blue Moon Belgian White, “is ours” and that 25% of last year’s growth in the US craft industry came from SABMiller brands.
   
Prezzo lines up 200th opening: Prezzo will be opening its 200th restaurant tomorrow (11 June) in York at the Vangarde Shopping Park. The company has invested £700,000 in the new restaurant and created 50 new jobs. The restaurant can seat 182 diners and includes an outside garden terrace. Jonathan Kaye, founder of Prezzo, said: “We opened our first Prezzo on New Oxford Street, London in 2002 and we’ve come a long way since then. We’re thrilled to officially open our 200th restaurant here in the prestigious city of York. All of our Prezzo restaurants are individually designed and our York Prezzo is no different. We’ve even created a special champagne cocktail to mark the occasion, the Prezzillini Minster! We’d like to say thank you to all of our present and future customers, as we wouldn’t be celebrating our 200th opening if it wasn’t for them.”
   
Leon to ramp up expansion with ten openings in 2015: The healthy eating brand Leon is to ramp up its expansion, with four openings this year to add to the existing 18 sites, and ten in 2015. Co-founder John Vincent told AM: “Leon was designed to be a chain, so the more it has, the more it fits its suit.” Vincent and co-founder Henry Dimbleby have just released their fifth cookbook. Previous cookbooks have sold around 100,000 copies each. “Sharing the knowledge is an important part of our mission,” Dimbleby said.
   
New wine bar and deli brand opens in Clapton: A new wine bar and deli brand, Verden, has opened on the site of the former Cricketer’s pub in Clarence Road, Clapton, East London. The 100-plus cover bar and delicatessen, which claims to be specialising in the trinity of meat, cheese and wine, will be open six days a week (closed on Mondays). Owners are Ed Wyand (former head maitre d’ at Scott’s) and Tom Bell (a former Ogilvy public relations associate director). They have sourced an extensive selection of cheese, charcuterie and wine, and customers are able to create their own selection of charcuterie and cheese straight from the Verden vaults. All of the cheeses, charcuterie, wine and beer will be available to take away from the deli until late.
   
Filmore & Union expands into the north east: The Yorkshire-based healthy eating company Filmore & Union is expanding into the north east of England with a £100,000 development at Newcastle Central Station due to officially open at the end of June, creating 20 new jobs. The opening will be Filmore & Union’s eighth site, but its first outside of Yorkshire, and will follow its cafe and take-out business model, selling its “Health-To-Go’ range, which includes healthy breakfast, lunch and snack options. The site will be managed by the company’s newly appointed regional manager, Craig Robinson, a former Pret A Manger regional operations manager who previously ran all three of the chain’s Newcastle sites and who will also be managing Filmore & Union’s sites at York Station and the Roko Health Club in York. Filmore & Union’s founder, Adele Ashley, said: ‘We’re extremely excited about coming to the north east, it’s a huge step for the business and there’s a real gap in the market for such a niche offering in Newcastle, which follows customer demand from our existing Newcastle commuters. We’re really pleased that our first site outside of Yorkshire is going to be at Newcastle Central Station – the multi-million pound transformation of the station will be hugely beneficial for the city.”
   
Meat Liquor confirmed for Bristol site: Meat Liquor will open in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol, it has been confirmed. The business will take a site at 77 Stokes Croft. The developer, Gonzalo Torjillo, said: “Stokes Croft has become the area where young people go out but one of the things it was missing was a restaurant. I think that Meat Liquor will fit well in the area, it is coming from out of London but it is not a national chain, it is a great concept and the people behind it have some great ideas. What I love about Stokes Croft is the creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit. The area is packed with small businesses and people trying to create and build something.”
   
Marston’s new-build in Wiltshire wins alcohol licence: Plans for a new Marston’s pub on the eastern edge of Melksham, Wiltshire (population: 21,000) have moved one step closer, after the development was awarded a licence to serve alcohol. Developer Pegasus, along with Marston’s, has submitted plans for six shops and a new family pub on Cranesbill Road, to serve the growing estate on the edge of town. Planning permission has yet to be approved for the development. The pub will cater for up to 150 diners and includes a children’s play area.
   
Busaba Eathai opens eleventh site: Busaba Eathai has now opened its eleventh restaurant in Kingston, located at the picturesque Kingston Riverside, next to Kingston Bridge. New dishes recently trialed at the Busaba Eathai Songkran pop-up at Fairground, Haggerston, feature on the menu at the new Kingston restaurant, such as Isaan grilled pork and a selection of summer salads, all inspired by the executive chef Jude Sangsida’s recent trip to Thailand. Another first for Busaba, the Kingston Riverside branch offers Thai style desserts, such as mango sticky rice and sweet plantain fritters with vanilla bean ice cream. The new site has 135 covers, including outdoor seating on a 30 cover riverside terrace.
   
Belfast nightclub closes after rent impasse: Belfast nightclub Stiff Kitten has closed its doors after a row over rent with its landlord. Shine Productions, which has been running the Dublin Road venue for nearly ten years, shut the venue after failing to reach new terms with its landlord, the car park operator NCP. Alan Simms, who worked with Phil Donaldson to open the club in 2005 after redeveloping a vacant site, said its location in Bankmore Square had also made life difficult: “The Stiff Kitten site has always been a challenging location in which to operate, even more so in recent years with increased competition and a move in business to the Cathedral Quarter.”
   
Starbucks franchisees line up openings in Worthing and Yeovil: A planning application has been submitted in Worthing, West Sussex for the first Starbucks outlet in the town. The application covers the former Barclays bank, in Broadwater Street West, Broadwater, Worthing. The franchise operation is seeking to open between 7am and 11pm. Franchisee E-Disc is already advertising for staff for the site. The nearest Starbucks outlet to Worthing currently is at Shoreham by Sea. Meanwhile, franchisee Amsric has submitted plans to West Dorset Council with a view to opening a store at the Peel Centre, Yeovil, at the bottom of Babylon Hill. The coffee shop would be next to Boots and would create around 20 jobs. A dozen tables will also be positioned outside the store. A company spokesman said: “We can confirm that a new Starbucks store will open in the Peel Shopping Park on Babylon Hill in August, in partnership with Starbucks franchisee Amsric.”
   
Christie + Co offers unopposed Newport restaurant site: The property agent Christie + Co is offering a relatively unopposed position in the centre of Newport in Gwent. The site, in the city’s Clarence Place, was formerly the home of the Italian brasserie Rossini’s and, according to Christie’s Sophia Sangchi, could lend itself to a variety of different offerings. She said: “The restaurant space occupied the ground floor of Clarence House, a ten-storey mixed office development in Newport, which includes the offices of blue chip companies and Welsh Assembly ministers. As such, the space offers a new tenant the opportunity to establish an excellent coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner proposition with a ready-made catchment, and with very limited competition nearby.” A new lease for the unit, which offers around 1,700 sq ft of floor space, is available at an initial rent of £18,000 a year.
   
Heineken unveils £108m UK production investment: Heineken has unveiled plans for a £50m upgrade and expansion of its brewery in Manchester. The Royal Brewery is already the world’s largest brewer of Foster’s and is the home of Kronenbourg 1664 in the UK. Heineken said the upgrades will allow the brewery to produce around 350 million pints more than it currently does. The work is expected to be completed by summer 2015. Heineken also announced it is to invest £58m in its cider operations in Hereford. David Forde, managing director of Heineken UK, said: “Heineken is the UK’s leading beer and cider business, a position that we are proud of and determined to build upon. These major investments are a clear demonstration of our long-term commitment to the UK. Heineken is committed to the UK marketplace and investing in the right infrastructure to ensure that we can continue to delight our consumers day-in and day-out with fantastic cider and beer experiences.”
   
Diageo cuts 200 head office jobs: Spirits producer Diageo has cut around 200 head office and regional jobs as its new chief executive, Ivan Menezes, cracks down on costs, The Daily Telegraph has reported. Head office roles in areas such as marketing are thought to have been affected, along with regional positions. The company has been “de-layering” its regional structures, particularly in Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific. Menezes, who has faced volatile trading in emerging markets since taking over the top job last year, announced in January that he planned to strip £200m of costs a year from the company by 2017 to turn it into a more “agile” company better able to respond to local conditions in its 21 markets.
   
Enterprise Inns appeals against refusal of permission to change pub into lap dancing club: Enterprise Inns has launched an appeal against a refusal by Doncaster Council to allow the Loaded pub on Printing Office Street, Doncaster to be turned into a lap dancing club. The planning application was rejected in December, after concerns about the possible side effects on the work carried out by the women’s charity Changing Lives, which is housed in offices opposite the pub. Planning officers recommended granting the application, on the grounds that the club was in a part of the town where use by young people and children was low, and the blacked out windows would mean few passers-by would be aware of the nature of the premise. However, Doncaster Council members agreed the site was “wholly inappropriate”.
   
New London brewer revives old family name: The first new-wave microbrewery in Islington, North London has been started by a man whose family once ran one of London’s best-known old breweries. Lee Hammerton has started brewing on an industrial estate in Roman Road, Barnsbury, Islington, nearly 60 years after the brewery run by his ancestors, Charles Hammerton & Co of Stockwell, South London, brewed for the last time. The revived Hammerton Brewery is supplying around ten pubs in the borough of Islington with three beers, Pentonville, Islington, and N7.
   
Restaurant feeds 600 for free as thank-you for reprieve petition: An Indian restaurant in Allestree, Derby, has given free meals to 600 customers as a thank-you for a petition that saved it from closing. The owner of the building, the Midlands Co-operative, had planned to convert it into a shop but backed down after more than 4,000 people signed petitions against the change. The restaurant has been running at the site in Kedleston Road, Allestree, since 1996. In November, the owner was told the Co-operative wanted to replace the restaurant with a shop. The Co-op had said the restaurant’s owner was “entitled to substantial statutory compensation” to assist with relocating. But restaurant manager Freddy Ahmed said it would have taken a long time to build a customer base at a new site, potentially putting jobs at risk. In addition, he said, it would have been difficult to make back “an awful lot of money” recently invested in improving the site. After the victory over the Midlands Co-op’s plans, Ahmed put on 300 free meals over two weekends for customers, saying he wanted to thank the local community for persuaded the Midlands Co-op to keep it as an Indian restaurant.
   
Campaigners seek ACV status for Spirit pub mired in legal dispute: Campaigners hoping to reopen the Doctor Johnson pub in Barkingside, Essex, currently closed in a dispute between the owner and Spirit Pub Company, are applying to the local council for “Asset of Community Value” status for the pub. Spirit took over the grade II listed pub three years ago in the hope of re-opening it as a pub, but is now trying to sever its ties with the owner, Cloverton Properties, based in Colchester, according to local media reports, and is currently engaged in a legal dispute with Cloverton. Spirit told the local Guardian newspaper that the argument was “long-running” but did not clarify the nature of the dispute. Now a campaigning group, Suspenses Property Guardians, has gathered the 21 signatures necessary to apply for ACV status for submission to Redbridge council. If granted, ACV status will allow the community time to develop a bid and try to raise the money to buy the building if it is put on the market. A spokesman for the group told the local Guardian newspaper that it was still hoping to strike a deal with Colverton Properties to re-open the pub.
   
McDonald’s and KFC both line up drive-through restaurants in Stourbridge: McDonald’s and KFC are both looking to open drive-through restaurants on a site off Mill Race Lane on the outskirts of Stourbridge town centre in the West Midlands. Proposals put in by the developer, Jumbuk Limited have been supported by officers at Dudley Council, who are recommending it for approval, and a final decision is due to be made by councillors at a meeting this week. A report by case officer Richard Stevenson said: “The proposed development is considered to be acceptable in principle and allows the redevelopment of a vacant site.” Under the plans, three restaurant units would be built in total. An occupier for the third unit has not yet been found but permission is being sought so it can be used as a restaurant, cafe or takeaway. At least 65 full and part-time jobs will be created by McDonald’s and a further 40 positions are likely to be created at the KFC outlet. If permission is granted, it would mean McDonald’s returning to the town after it closed its 20-year-old branch in the High Street in 2008. Meanwhile Work has begun on a new Premier Inn hotel and Brewers Fayre restaurant in Birmingham Street, Stourbridge, where around 65 jobs are expected to be created.
   
Burger King announces ‘eat seven Whoppers in half an hour’ contest: Burger King Japan is celebrating the company’s 60th anniversary with a competition called the “60th Anniversary B’iKing Battle”, open to anyone who thinks they can eat seven Whoppers in half an hour. The B’iKing Battle is a play on words incorporating the Japanese word for “all-you-can-eat” (baikingu) and the chain’s name. Entrants must be a member of the Burger King fanclub or email magazine, must give Burger King Japan permission to publish their name, photo, and videos and must be able to come to the Burger King in Roppongi, an upmarket area of Tokyo, on 19 June. The first prize is an entire month’s worth of Whoppers.
   
SSP reports profit up 28% year-on-year: SSP Group, the UK-based operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, has reported strong operating profit growth of 28.2% on a constant currency basis to £19.7m (up 16.6% at actual FX rates) in the six month ended 31 March 2014. Sales rose 4.6% on a constant currency basis to £865.8m (up 2.2% at actual FX rates), with like-for-like sales growth of 3.2%. Ebitda was up 12.6% on a constant currency basis to £54m (up 8.0% at actual FX rates). The company reported an increase in net margins, reflecting improved performance across all areas of the business, with revenue and ebitda progression in all regions on a constant currency basis, with particularly strong performances in North America and Asia Pacific. Contract developments during the period included a five-year deal worth £50m to operate six units at Beijing airport; a ten-year deal worth €300m to operate 11 units at Helsinki airport and nine units at Finland’s three regional airports of Turku, Oulu and Rovaniemi; a ten-year deal worth €80m to operate eight new units at Bordeaux airport; and a seven-year deal worth €42m to operate nine units at Athens airport. SSP reported continued development of the group’s extensive brand portfolio, including the launch of two new bespoke concepts, Central Diner, a 1930’s-inspired New York diner at JFK airport and Flying Hippo, an American-style family diner at Newcastle Airport. Kate Swann, SSP’s chief executive, said: “This has been a period of strong growth for SSP, with profit up 28% year-on-year and like-for-like sales up 3.2%. We have delivered increases in revenue and ebitda across all of the regions in which we operate, with North America and Asia Pacific continuing to perform particularly well. It is pleasing to note that the outlets in which we have invested recently, most notably in the US, are trading strongly. The new contracts won during the period demonstrate both our broad geographic spread and our ability to provide innovative solutions to our clients’ specific requirements all over the world. The second half of the year has started well and we remain confident in the company’s prospects for the rest of 2014 and beyond.” SSP has release its half-year results ahead of an anticipated float.

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