Premier Travel Inn boosts Whitbread

British leisure group Whitbread, who own Premier Travel Inn, said its budget hotels were continuing to boost the company’s revenues.

This comes as it reported a slowdown in sales growth over the summer.

Whitbread PLC announces that total sales for the first 24 weeks of its financial year (to 17 August 2006) have grown by 8.4% and like for like sales have grown by 2.3%.

Premier Travel Inn has performed strongly with total sales up 15.2% and like for like sales growing by 6.9%.  The integration of the seven Holiday Inn properties acquired in March is proceeding to plan and in total 1,293 rooms have been added in the first 24 weeks.

In July Whitbread announced the successful sale of 239 stand-alone pub restaurants sites to Mitchells & Butlers for £497m.  Our focus is now on joint sites comprising a Premier Travel Inn and a pub restaurant.  In the first 24 weeks one new joint site has been opened and a further four will be opened in the second half of the year.

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Over the 24 week period the retained Pub Restaurant estate has seen like for like sales decline by 1.3%.  The new management team are developing their plans to grow sales, more details of which will be given at the Interim Results in October.  Following the disposal of 239 sites, overhead is being reduced proportionally to reflect the smaller estate with a one-off associated exceptional cost of c.£12m.

Membership retention at David Lloyd Leisure continues to improve and has underpinned the like for like sales growth of 2.0%.  Total membership now stands at 374,136 with membership of UK like for like clubs at 311,857.  One new club at Aberdeen has successfully opened during the period.

Costa continues to grow rapidly, with total sales up 22.2% on the previous year.  Like for like sales grew by 5.7%.  In the period 77 new stores were opened (71 net of closures) including 29 equity and 19 franchise stores in the UK and 29 overseas including stores opening for the first time in Jordan & Syria. 

Commenting on the performance of the Group, Alan Parker, Chief Executive, Whitbread PLC said: “I am pleased that the positive momentum from the first quarter continues.  The sale of the stand-alone Pub Restaurants and the announced disposal of our share in Pizza Hut UK are further steps to reshape the Group and focus on our higher growth businesses.

“We are intent on continuing to improve operating performance and delivering on our growth plans for Premier Travel Inn and Costa; driving improved sales performance in our retained Pub Restaurant estate and maintaining the turnaround of David Lloyd Leisure.  An update on all these activities will be given with our half year results on 24th October along with a progress update on the TGI Friday’s review and plans for the proceeds received from the sale of Pub Restaurants and Pizza Hut UK.”
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