StockMarketWire.com - Conveniences store operator in travel locations SSP said it expected its second-half sales to plunge 86%, though operating earnings would be at the midpoint of its guidance range due to cost cutting, including from layoffs.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation losses for the six months through August were expected in the middle of the £120m-to-£190m range outlined by the company in June.

Current weekly sales were running at around 76% below last year, representing an improvement from the third quarter, when sales were about 95% lower in April and May and 90% lower in June.

SSP said it had re-opened around 1,100 units, or just over a third of all of its units, which was ahead of expectations.

The company had in July said it would cut up to 5,000 jobs.

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

'It is with regret that the prolonged nature of this crisis has resulted in us having to restructure and make considerable job losses in order to protect the business.'

'These are always extremely difficult decisions, and we are supporting our colleagues throughout this process.'

'We have seen some improvement in passenger demand since the start of the crisis and we have reopened units swiftly and profitably in response to this, with over one third of our units now trading.'

'Our model is flexible and we will continue to align unit openings with demand, meeting the needs of our customers whilst managing operating costs and cash flow tightly.'

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