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Strong growth in sales at Whitbread

Strong growth in sales at Whitbread

Whitbread – which operates Premier Inn and Costa Coffee in the UK – has reported strong sales growth for the 50 weeks to February 11th 2012.

In total the group recorded an 11 per cent increase in total sales and confirmed it will create 10,000 jobs in the UK over the next three years.

Premier Inn increased total room nights sold by 7.2 per cent - to 11.7 million.

Room rates at the low-cost hotel chain were up by 1.6 per cent which, combined with occupancy up 0.4ppts to 76.3 per cent, increased like for like REVpar by 2.2 per cent with growth across both midweek and the weekend.

Like for like REVpar grew by 7.7 per cent in London and 1.2 per cent in the regions.

A total of 3,640 new rooms and 11 restaurants opened at the Premier Inn chain over the period, with Whitbread on track to have opened 4,000 new rooms and 12 restaurants in the UK by year end.

“Following the trend we highlighted in December, industry data has continued to show a soft hotel market in the UK, with a divergence in performance between London and the regions,” said Andy Harrison, chief executive, Whitbread.

“The market REVpar in the regions has declined by around three per cent in the quarter, in contrast to a more robust London market especially in the upper segments.

“Premier Inn has outperformed its competitive set, benefiting from our commitment to maintain our hotels to a consistent high standard.

“Our scale, strong balance sheet and good returns enable us to continue to expand in line with our plans and win share of the hotel market.”

Harrison added: “We have around 10,000 Premier Inn rooms in our committed pipeline, which together with Costa’s growth plan means that we expect to create a further 10,000 jobs in the UK over the next three years, in addition to the 2,500 that we have created in 2011/12.”