Premier Inn will reach 40,000 rooms with the opening of its new Chester hotel next week, but plans to slow expansion in line with falling demand due to the recession.
The 120-bedroom Chester City Centre Premier Inn opens its doors on 12 March, days after owner Whitbread admitted sales at its fast growing budget chain had take a hit due to the economic turmoil affecting the UK.
Alan Parker, chief executive of Whitbread, told Caterersearch: “We opened a Premier Inn the equivalent of every week last year.
“This year we will open 12, as well as two or three in the Middle East and two in India. Our foot is still on the accelerator but we have to be aware of the operating environment and balance new openings against cash flow to avoid additional borrowing.”
Despite this, Premier Inn reiterated its target of having 55,000 rooms in the UK within the next five years.
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By Chris Druce
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