Travel retail business SSP, which operates brands including Starbucks and Upper Crust, has reported £221.m in operating profit.The company said the 12.1% increase in profit in the year ended 30 September 2019 had been driven by a combination of new contracts, operational efficiency and sales growth.Total revenue was £2,794.6m, up 7.8% at constant currency, and up 9% at actual exchange rates. Growth in air and rail passenger numbers drove a 1.9% increase in like-for-like sales.“SSP has delivered another strong performance in 2019,” said CEO Simon Smith. “Operating profit was driven by solid like-for-like sales growth despite some external headwinds, significant new contract openings and further operational improvements.”Smith added that SSP continued to grow its business in Continental Europe, India and the Philippines. It expanded into Brazil for the first time and planned to extend into Bermuda, Bahrain and Malaysia.“The new business pipeline is strong across all our geographies both this year and next, and we’ve announced a £100m share buyback, which further demonstrates our confidence in the future of the business.”Recent SSP activity in the UK has included a partnership with Warrens Bakery to open a store in Gatwick Airport. The company was forced to close its first Knead site, opened with Paul Hollywood at Euston Station, as building worked started on the High Speed 2 (HS2) development, but has not ruled out opening further sites under the brand.Smith added: “The new financial year has started in line with our expectations and, 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 and to create value for our shareholders.”
Win A Pair Of Tickets!<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span> Ghost Light Tour Dates:April 11th – Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, NYApril 12th – Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PAApril 13th – The Acoustic – Bridgeport, CTApril 14th – Thunder Road – Boston, MAApril 17th – Gypsy Sally’s – Washington, DCApril 18th – Lincoln Theater – Raleigh, NCApril 19th – 5 Points Sanctuary – Roanoke, VAApril 20th – Asheville Music Hall – Asheville, NCMay 10th – Aggie Theatre – Fort Collins, COMay 11th – Fox Theatre – Boulder, COMay 12th – Globe Hall – Denver, COMay 16th – City Winery – Chicago, ILMay 17th – Founders Brewery – Grand Rapids, MIMay 18th – Blind Pig – Ann Arbor, MIMay 19th – Grog Shop – Cleveland, OHJune 7th – Disc Jam Music Festival – Stephentown, NYJune 28th – Beanstalk Music Festival – Bond, COJuly 5th – High Sierra Music Festival – Quincy, CAJuly 19th – Peach Music Festival – Scranton, PAAugust 24th – Lockn’ Festival – Arrington, VAView All Tour Dates Tom Hamilton and Holly Bowling will team up for a special night at Port Chester, NY’s Capitol Theatre on Friday, June 1st. The pair—who recently kicked off their first tour with their new Ghost Light project—will treat fans to an acoustic tribute to the Grateful Dead.EXCLUSIVE: Tom Hamilton & Holly Bowling Talk New Band, Ghost Light, & The Grateful DeadHamilton and Bowling both have plenty of experience with the Grateful Dead catalog. In addition to playing Dead tunes with Ghost Light, Hamilton has been a member of popular Grateful Dead tribute act Joe Russo’s Almost Dead since the band’s inception. Bowling, on the other hand, released a full album of Grateful Dead covers titled Better Left Unsung and rose to fame in the jam scene for her creative solo piano reimaginings of Phish and the Dead. Both artists have performed with original members of the Grateful Dead at various times.Tickets for Hamilton and Bowling’s upcoming show—titled Acoustic Explorations of the Grateful Dead—will go on sale on Friday, April 6th. The concert will feature ten rows of reserved seating in the orchestra, with the rest of the floor going to general admission standing tickets. You also check out a list of dates for Hamilton and Bowling’s new band, Ghost Light, below.
JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoThe University of Wisconsin’s women’s hockey team looks to make history this weekend when it faces Robert Morris at the Kohl Center. Holding a 28-game unbeaten streak, No. 1 Wisconsin (2-0) will play its home opening series with a chance to tie the all-time mark of 30 set by New Hampshire back in 2005-06. Despite yet another record knocking at UW’s door, the team doesn’t seem to notice. “I haven’t thought about it,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “I don’t even know what number it is at to be honest.” “We don’t even think about it,” senior defenseman Emily Morris added. “When you start thinking about stuff like that too much is when you mess up.” Instead, the Badgers are focused on the team at hand — Robert Morris. The Colonials are coming off a 3-0 loss to the Mercyhurst Lakers — No. 2 in the USA Today poll. Despite finishing just 11-22-2 last season, they should provide some competition for the Badgers. “They are going to work hard and be competitive,” Johnson said. “We have to be sharp if we are going to win.” Wisconsin has had some success against Robert Morris in the past. The team went down to RMU and won 10-0 and 5-0 in consecutive games last season. Both teams possess talented returning players and up-and-coming freshmen who are trying to gel early in the season. The Badgers, in particular, have a great deal of experience, returning essentially their entire offense from last season — five of their top eight point-scorers from a year ago — save 2006 Patty Kazmaier winner Sara Bauer.The team also boasts the preseason WCHA rookie of the year, freshman Hilary Knight, along with six other capable freshmen. To continue its success UW must find a way to blend these players effectively. More important than continuing the streak or downing Robert Morris, Wisconsin is focused on simply getting better.“Early in the season it is more about what we are doing, how we are playing, and looking for some chemistry within our lines” Johnson said. “You are trying to find some combinations, looking for some chemistry, and probably the most important thing is for our young players to get some game experience.” The Badgers started off in the right direction with a strong week of practice.“Right now we are working on everything,” Johnson said. “In fact, we still have to work on a couple things, but we haven’t had time yet.” And the team chemistry is building.“We are having a lot of fun,” Morris said. “Getting things to flow, and we are all getting on the same page.”While the NCAA streak could be tied at the conclusion of this weekend’s series for the reigning two-time NCAA national champions, this weekend is about starting fresh. “I’m proud of what we have accomplished in the past,” Morris said. “But, it is a new year, and it being my senior year, I hope it will be just as fun as the past ones.” Making the home opener even more exciting for the Badgers and their fans will be the raising of the 2006-2007 National Championship banner, which will go up 15 minutes prior to gametime. The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m.