Premier Inn boosts Whitbread

Premier Inn boosts Whitbread

Strong performance at Premier Inn has continued to boost sales at Whitbread.

The budget hotel chain saw like-for-like sales increase by 10.7 per cent in the 24 weeks to August 19th, with overall sales up 14.5 per cent.

Sales have been boosted by a recent focus on cost-conscience business customers, with rooms offered for as little as £29 per night.

“We are taking market share both in the leisure and corporate market but the continued drift of large corporations towards us has been a sustained trend over the last 12 months,” explained chief executive Alan Parker.

The hotel chain generates around two-thirds of Whitbread’s profits and has recently benefited from increased marketing and the impact of “dynamic pricing” where rooms are priced according to demand.

In the year to date, Premier Inn has opened nine new hotels with a total of 795 rooms, of which six are on joint sites with restaurants.

The company’s secured pipeline of new rooms now stands at c.11,000, including 1,905 rooms planned to open during the remainder of 2010/11.

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Restaurant Trading

Whitbread also reported further strong trading at its coffee shop chain Costa Coffee, with new drink and food offers helping quarterly like-for-like sales increase by 8.1 per cent - similar to the rate seen in June.

Membership of the Costa Coffee Club exceeded expectations and now stands at over three million since its launch in March, with over 40 per cent of customers using the card.

Elsewhere in the restaurant division - which includes the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre brands - like-for-like sales for the most recent quarter were up 4.3 per cent, against a 3.6 per cent rise in the first three months of the company’s financial year.

Mr Parker – who will step down in November – concluded: “We will continue to make progress in this ‘age of austerity’ by relentlessly focusing on meeting the needs of our customers.”