Whitbread to sell off Marriott hotel chain?

22 September 2004 by
Whitbread to sell off Marriott hotel chain?

Hotel chain Marriott could be put up for sale next month when Whitbread's newly installed chief executive, Alan Parker, announces his strategic review of the company.

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Whitbread's budget brands are performing more strongly than Marriott

The sale of the business would enable the group to release some capital and to invest it in its stronger-performing businesses, such as the Travel Inn budget hotel chain.

A spokesperson for Whitbread said the company was looking at all of its assets but did not expect to make any public statement about the review at least until it published its interim results in October.

The news of a possible sale of Marriott comes after Whitbread reported a slowing of turnover growth across several of its businesses.

Although like-for-like sales at Marriott were up by 4.9% in the 24 weeks to 19 August, the growth had slowed from 6% in May.

Budget hotel group Travel Inn remained the strongest performer for Whitbread, recording a like-for-like sales increase of 6.3%.

Sales in Whitbread's pub-restaurants also slowed during the period, recording a 0.4% growth, compared with a 2.2% hike in like-for-like sales for the previous financial year. Sales across the company's high-street restaurants remained stable at 3%.

"Some of the brands achieved slightly lower like-for-like sales growth than anticipated," Parker said. "In the longer term, however, I am confident there are a number of areas of unrealised potential."

Whitbread has also opened its first batch of Premier Travel Inn hotels, just six weeks after buying the Premier Lodge chain. New Premier Travel Inn signs have now been hoisted over former Premier Lodge hotels in Kew, Edgware, West Croydon and Barking and over Travel Inn properties in Beckton, Ilford, Greenford and East Croydon.

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