Strong start to the year at Whitbread

Strong start to the year at Whitbread

Hotel and restaurant chain Whitbread has enjoyed a strong start to the financial year, as budget chain Premier Inn led the way.

The Dunstable-based group saw like-for-like sales at the hotel chain increase by some 10.5 per cent the 13 weeks to June 3rd, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Overall the group recorded a like-for-like sales increased of 7.6 per cent over the period.

Whitbread operates brands including Costa Coffee, Brewers Fayre and Beefeater.

“Our performance was driven by increased marketing and the full implementation of dynamic pricing with improved value for money awareness,” explained Whitbread chief executive Alan Parker.

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Business account sales revenue at Premier Inn grew 21 per cent - to over £50 million - with companies increasingly attracted budget prices at the chain.

Over the quarter, Premier Inn opened four new hotels with a total of 380 rooms, of which three are on joint sites with restaurants.

Whitbread’s secured pipeline of future new rooms now stands at over 11,000; including circa 2,500 rooms planned to open in 2010/11.

Costa Coffee has also continued to expand, with the integration of 89 recently purchased Coffeeheaven stores in Central Europe.

“In these times of austerity, our strategy of value for money hospitality brands in growing segments of the market has put us in a position of relative strength,” added Mr Parker.

“We intend to further increase our market share by improving occupancy in our hotels and customer volumes in our restaurants and coffee shops.

“Our longer term expansion will continue at a pace appropriate to our competitive performance and growth in the market,” he concluded.