At De Vere Group Plc`s AGM held on Friday at De Vere Oulton Hall, England, the Board provided shareholders with the following update:
Picture :Relaxation area at Village Hotels
Total group turnover for the first four months of the year has increased by 6.8% over the comparable period in the previous year.
Following a pleasing start to the financial year, assisted particularly by higher conference volumes, De Vere Hotels has experienced lower demand for its midweek conference business since the start of the New Year.
Like-for-like RevPAR increased by 0.3% for the first four months and like-for-like sales increased by the same percentage.
Worries over a conflict in Iraq are creating uncertainty amongst many conference buyers, although short break sales remain buoyant and have increased both in terms of the numbers of room nights sold and average room rate.
Trading conditions for Village Hotels remain in line with those reported at the preliminary results with a like-for-like RevPAR growth of 3.3% in the first four months of the year. Like-for-like sales have increased by 6.2% in the same period.
The fourteenth Village site in Newcastle opened in June 2002 and is trading in line with expectations. There are now four new sites in the pipeline, Maidstone, Bournemouth, Perry Barr and North Birmingham, with the first due to open in 2004.
Greens health clubs continue to trade well with total sales up by 41.8% and like-for-like sales up by 6.7%. The target of 15 clubs has now been met with the opening of Giffnock, South Glasgow, in December 2002. Membership at the end of January reached 62,000, compared to 44,000 in January 2002.
The trading environment remains uncertain and recovery difficult to predict. Geopolitical risks are also impacting on the UK hotel market. The Board remains confident, however, that its strong brands will continue to outperform the market and underpin the long-term growth of De Vere Group.