Whitbread, which owns the Premier Inn and Costa coffee brands, has reported like-for-like sales growth of 0.3% “reflecting recent tougher market conditions.”
In the 13 weeks to 30 November 2017, the Premier Inn brand saw growth of 5% “driven by investment in new hotel capacity”, while Costa had a strong third-quarter growth of 7.2% from “new stores and Costa Express expansion” following a targeted investment programme to open new stores in high-footfall locations.
Whitbread’s hotels and restaurants arm was ahead of the market at 5%, however it saw flat hotel sales, which “reflects recent market weakness”. Room occupancy was at 80%.
Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain said: “We have made good progress in executing our strategy and have grown group sales so far this year by 6.8%. This growth, combined with the results from our group-wide efficiency programme, means that we are on track to achieve expectations for the full year.
“[Premier Inn’s] performance in the quarter moderated as the budget hotel market weakened and we had a particularly challenging October. Performance so far has been encouraging and reflects a return to year-to-date performance.
“Our Costa high street stores in the UK are highly profitable and generate strong returns. However, the well-publicised weak retail market footfall is negatively impacting our high street stores’ like-for-like performance and we expect this to continue for some time.
“We remain committed to delivering our strategy to invest in the attractive structural growth opportunities in the budget hotel market and the growing coffee markets, in both the UK and internationally.”
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