Compass reveals good start to year

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Compass, which provides catering at famous venues including Wimbledon, has served up more encouraging trading figures

The world’s biggest catering firm has served up more encouraging trading figures after seeing first quarter revenues lift by around 5.5%.

Compass, which generated sales of more than £14 billion last year, said new contract levels were solid and that “steady” like-for-like growth helped lift revenues in the three months to December 31.

The Surrey-based group said trends seen in the second half of last year had been “broadly” maintained into the first quarter, suggesting ongoing improvements in its embattled UK and Ireland arm.

The division has been impacted by economic conditions in recent years, particularly in the sport and leisure, and business and industry sectors.

But the decline in revenues eased from a 5.7% drop in the first half of its last financial year to September 30 to a 1% decline in the second half.

North America and other overseas markets continue to drive growth, according to Compass.

It said the first quarter revenue rise reflected “strong growth both in food service and in our fast growing support services business and we are encouraged by the pipeline of new business opportunities”.

Compass provides catering at famous venues including Chelsea Football Club and the Wimbledon tennis championships.

Analysts praised the first quarter revenues, with broker Panmure Gordon saying the first quarter growth was better than the 4.5% it had forecast.

Compass is the biggest firm of its type in the world, with operations in more than 50 countries.

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