Spending at events boosted Sodexo's sales in 2023

Sodexo reported fiscal 2023 results which showcased a boost to U.S. sales due to return to office and sales at events.
Sodexo saw organic sales grow 13.9% in 2023. | Photo: Shutterstock.

Sodexo’s North American sales grew in 2023 as more workers returned to the office and sports fans, concert and convention-goers spent money at events.

Paris-based foodservice provider Sodexo reported 13.9% organic sales growth in North America for the fiscal year 2023. Sales grew in all segments but especially in Business and Administration, which saw a 23.4% increase in organic growth, the company said, thanks to workers returning to offices. Strong attendance at concerts, conventions and sporting events helped sales with Sodexo Live, the foodservice provider's events business.

“I wanted to call out the massive return of live events after the COVID crisis. Sodexo Live! has had a great year. We’ve brought visitors and fans back with record attendance in Stadia and the Parisian boats and in airport lounges and increased average spend per capita,” said Sodexo CEO Sophie Bellon, in a call to investors last week.

Sales were also up in the healthcare and senior living sectors with an 8.8% increase in organic growth. The company attributed this to cross-selling retail recovery and major mobilization. And in education, growth was up 8.8%, driven by universities with strong attendance levels, price increases and more growth in retail sales and event catering. Organic growth at universities increased 13.4%, while K-12 schools were hurt by the reduction of government waiver eligibility.

It appears that food inflation is softening, noted Marc Rolland, Sodexo’s chief financial officer who said that pricing is starting to outpace food cost inflation in North America and Brazil.

When it comes to the environment, Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions were down 5.4% in 2023. In addition, Bellon noted that the company is making progress on waste reduction but it has yet to reach 50% reduction at the sites where the company has introduced WasteWatch, a waste reduction platform that helps operations monitor and reduce their waste. But the number of sites that use the program has increased—the program covers 57% of total food raw material cost, up from 46%. Sodexo aims to reach 80%.

The company has also made progress on its leadership gender balance targets. Women represent 42% of group senior leaders, noted Bellon in the conference call.

Moving forward, Sodexo plans to lean into digital to meet consumers demands.

“We know that consumers are looking for more flexibility, more personalization, more sustainable offers, healthier dishes, better taste and more digital to help us to do all that,” said Bellon. “We believe that we can grow the business faster by leveraging our expertise to adapt our traditional food model and complement our existing infrastructure with advanced food model.”



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