Analysts had suggested that Marylebone Warwick Balfour (MWB) was planning to roll out its new Pub du Vin brand - which recently debuted in Brighton - across the UK this year, but Robert Cook, chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, was quick to play this down.
"We're pretty much battening down the hatches this year and have no plans for expansion of any kind," he told Caterer. "We'll spend the year consolidating what we already have."
The comments came after MWB's annual results revealed that food and beverage (F&B) sales had taken a hit in 2008 as consumers tightened their belts. But, despite F&B revenue being marginally down compared with 2007, trading at MWB's hotels held firm, with occupancy and room rate maintained at 79% and £115 respectively in the 12 months to 31 December.
Four new hotels were opened during the second half of 2008: Poole, Dorset, in September Newcastle in October Aberdeen in November and Edinburgh in December. This takes the total number of operating Malmaison hotels to 12, with 14 Hotel du Vins. The group's hotel at St Andrews received planning consent in December 2008 for conversion to a Hotel du Vin.
By Gemma Sharkey
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