London outlets drive sales at Whitbread

21 June 2011 by
London outlets drive sales at Whitbread

Britain's biggest hotel operator, Whitbread, said a strong performance by its outlets in London offset an adverse impact from the Easter and Royal Wedding holidays in the first quarter of 2011.

The company, which runs Costa coffee stores, Beefeater, Brewers Fayre pub-restaurant chains and Premier Inn UK hotels, reported that total sales grew by 9.2% in the 13 weeks to 2 June, including new openings.

Whitbread, which currently has more than 1,200 Costa Coffee shops in the UK and more than 650 internationally, said like-for-like sales at the coffee chain were up 4%. The group plans to double the size of Costa Coffee worldwide to 3,500 stores in the next five years.

Sales at Whitbread's restaurants fell 1.4%, owing to a more difficult dining market in the provinces.

Meanwhile, sales at Premier Inn hotels, which opened its 600th Premier Inn, in Stratford-upon-Avon, earlier this year, were up 3% in the quarter. Whitbread said the budget hotel chain performed well against a tough economic backdrop, benefiting from its £19-a-room deal as well as business customers downgrading from four- and five-star hotels.

Over the next five years, Whitbread intends to grow Premier Inn in the UK by 50% to 65,000 rooms.

"Premier Inn revpar is continuing to benefit from a stronger London market, whereas in the provinces our restaurants are being impacted in a more difficult casual-dining market," said Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison.

Last week, Premier Inn announced that up to 120 general managers could lose their jobs in a rationalisation of the budget hotel group's management structure.

Premier Inn to shed up to 120 general managers >>

Costa opens first drive-thru coffee shop >>

Whitbread plans to accelerate expansion after 20% pre-tax profit rise >>

By Kerstin Kühn

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