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Double digit growth for Whitbread as Premier Inn outperforms economy hotel sector

23 October 2012
Double digit growth for Whitbread as Premier Inn outperforms economy hotel sector

Hotel, restaurant and café group Whitbread has delivered double digit growth in both revenue and underlying pre-tax profit for the six months to 30 August 2012.

The firm's total revenues were up 14.2% to just over £1b for the period, with group like-for-like sales up 4.3%. Underlying profit before tax was up 10.6% to £193.4m.

Andy Harrison, chief executive of the group said that Premier Inn outperformed the rest of the midscale and economy hotel sector in terms of revpar, with 2.4% growth in the first half, compared with a 3.6% decline in the rest of the sector. Like-for-like sales were up 3.7% while total sales were up 12.9%.

"As expected, the London hotel market is settling post the Olympics and we wait for a clearer trend to emerge. The regional hotel market has continued its revpar decline. More generally, our consumer market context continues to be broadly flat. Against this background we expect to continue to outperform our competitors and like-for-like sales growth appears to be more moderate than the high levels achieved in the first half," Harrison said.

The performance of Whitbread's restaurants, many of which sit alongside its hotels, also improved, with toal sales up 5.3% and like-for-like sales up 3.4%.

Meanwhile, its café brand Costa continued its rapid growth. Total sales were up 25%, with UK like-for-like sales up 6.8% and underlying profits up 29.9%. The group opened 141 net new coffee shops, taking the total to 2,344, up 6.4% from 2011/12.

"We expect continuing rapid growth in total sales on track towards our five-year milestones," Harrison said. "Premier Inn is benefitting from a structural shift in the UK towards strong branded hotels. Costa's growth is supported by its leading UK position in a robust category, together with exciting international opportunities."

By Neil Gerrard

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