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Thu 26th Sep 2019 - Update: Time Out Markets, M&B, SSP, Tasty
Time Out Group reports strong early trading at three new food markets: Time Out Group has reported that it has opened three new Time Out Markets, in Miami, New York and Boston with “strong early trading”. Meanwhile its first Time Out Market in Lisbon continues to perform strongly with 6% growth in total transaction value to £17.7m (2018: £16.8m) and 46% growth in adjusted Ebitda to £2.4m (2018: £1.6m). Chicago and Montreal Time Out Markets are on track to open in the company’s Quarter Four, towards the end of this year. A Dubai management agreement has been signed with a 2020 opening planned, increasing the number of contracted sites to eleven, with a further pipeline of global locations under review. The company reported year-on-year revenue growth of 10% to £24.7m (2018: £22.4m) in the six months ended 30 June , driven by expansion of Time Out Market. It had a group adjusted Ebitda loss of £4.5m, a 29% year-on-year improvement despite a period of significant investment in Time Out Market cost base, Julio Bruno, chief executive of Time Out Group, said: “The continued growth of Time Out Market Lisbon and the successful opening and early trading of three new markets in Q2 further demonstrate the format’s global appeal, quality of curation and breadth and engagement of the Time Out audience. The new sites, which bring the best chefs, drinks and cultural experiences of the city under one roof, have attracted significant footfall from day one with minimal marketing spend, and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. At the heart of Time Out remains its content that helps millions go out better in cities around the world and for which the Markets are proving to be another unique and effective channel. My thanks go to the team for its continued hard work, skill and dedication in successfully opening the new markets within such a concentrated timeframe. Two more (Chicago and Montreal) are set to open in 2019, and by year end there will be six Time Out Markets offering food from 120 of the best chefs of these cities, occupying 185,000 sq ft and accommodating almost 4,000 seats. With the economics of the Media division continuing to improve, we look forward to a successful second half for the group.” Of the opening programme, Bruno stated: “Time Out successfully launched three new markets during the second quarter – in Miami (on 9 May), New York (31 May) and Boston (27 June) – with unparalleled chef line-ups, positive reviews and strong early trading. Encouraging visitor numbers since opening validates the chosen locations and is an early indicator of success. These openings have transformed the scale and breadth of Time Out Market with the addition of 65,000 sq ft of floor space, over 1,600 seats and 56 concessionaires, and this momentum is set to continue into the second half with the opening of Chicago and Montreal (Time Out Market’s first management agreement). Beyond 2019, and in addition to the growth that these new markets are expected to deliver, the schedule of further planned openings is very strong – and includes the recent addition of Time Out Market’s third management agreement in Dubai, which was signed in April 2019 with Emaar Malls. Time Out Market Dubai is expected to open in 2020 and will be located in Souk Al Bahar, an Arabian-style retail, entertainment and dining destination in the heart of Downtown Dubai, offering a unique waterfront position next to the iconic Burj Khalifa. The market will occupy 30,000 sq ft, accommodating 670 seats and will include food from 16 of top chefs and restaurateurs, three lounges and cultural experiences. Other previously announced markets include: London Waterloo – scheduled 2021 opening; London Spitalfields – planning application due to be re-submitted in Q4 with a potential opening anytime from late 2020; Porto – the project has now been formally approved by Direção Geral do Património Cultural, having consulted relevant authorities including UNESCO. Full planning application will be submitted over the coming months with a potential opening anytime from late 2020; Prague (management agreement) – 2022 opening. Furthermore, the group has a strong pipeline under review of other potential locations in cities around the world, including a strong interest in management agreements, often in cities where Time Out has limited or no presence, reinforcing the strength of Time Out’s global brand. Given these agreements require no capital investment, they are expected to form an important part of the portfolio mix as Time Out Market is rolled out over the coming years.” 

M&B reports sales up 4% in 51 weeks ended 21 September: Mitchells & Butlers has reported total sales have increased by 4% in the 51 weeks ended 21 September 2019. The company stated: “Since our last update sales have continued to outperform the market. In the eight weeks to 21 September like-for-like sales grew by 3.3% with drink sales growth particularly strong. Total sales have increased by 4.0% in the year-to-date. We continue to make good progress on our investment programme, premiumising offers where possible and reducing the remodel lifecycle. We have opened seven new sites and completed 239 conversions and remodels in the financial year to date. We are pleased to have reached agreement on the 2019 triennial valuations, showing a deficit of £293m and an unchanged schedule of future contributions.” Chief executive Phil Urban said: “Sales growth has remained consistently ahead of the market and we carry this momentum forward into the new financial year. We remain confident of the impact of our Ignite initiatives which will be continually reviewed and refreshed as the business moves forward.”

SSP Group reports strong Fourth Quarter: SSP Group, the operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, has issued a Pre Close Trading Update for the fourth quarter of its financial year ending 30 September 2019, covering the period from 1 July to 30 September 2019. The company stated: “SSP had a good fourth quarter and made further progress on its strategic initiatives. Total group revenue is expected to increase by approximately 7.8% on a constant currency basis, comprising like-for-like sales growth of approximately 1.8% and net contract gains of approximately 6.0%. At actual exchange rates, total group revenues for the period are expected to increase by approximately 10% year-on-year. Overall, the trends seen in like-for-like sales growth in the third quarter have continued into the fourth quarter. In the UK, the air sector has been fairly resilient over the fourth quarter, while rail has remained softer, albeit benefitting from a lower level of disruption in the rail network. In Continental Europe, like-for-like sales continued to be held back by slower passenger growth and the impact of airport redevelopment in the Nordic countries and in Spain. In North America, like-for-like sales growth has been affected throughout the quarter by the grounding of Boeing Max 737 aircraft and the transfer of passengers away from our terminals at some airports. In the Rest of the World, like for like sales growth has been mixed with good performances in Egypt and the Middle East continuing to be offset, as anticipated, by the cessation of operations at Jet Airways in India, weaker Chinese passenger numbers and more recently the protests in Hong Kong. For the full year we expect like-for-like sales growth for the group to be just below 2.0%. After another strong quarter, net contract gains for the full year are expected to be just above our previous expectations, at around 5.5%, and as usual they will be accompanied by pre-opening costs. Net contract gains have been driven by significant growth in North America and Continental Europe and we have recently commenced operations in Brazil, a new territory for SSP. Despite the many external challenges, particularly towards the end of the year, SSP has performed well and guidance for FY19 remains unchanged. Looking into 2020, many of these challenges will remain as well as ongoing economic uncertainty and the expectation of airline capacity cuts. That said, the diversity of the business and flexibility of the model leave us well placed to benefit from the significant structural growth opportunities in our markets and to create further value for shareholders.”

Tasty hires new finance director: Wildwood operator Tasty has hired Mayuri Vachhani as finance director, with immediate effect. Vachhani was appointed as non-board finance director to the company in February 2018. The company stated: “Mayuri has over 20 years’ experience in the restaurant sector and has extensive finance and commercial experience. She has held a number of finance positions at companies including McDonald’s, ASK, Ed’s Easy Diner and Big Easy. Vachhani is a chartered accountant, having trained at KPMG.”

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