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Premier Travel Inn leads sluggish Whitbread performance

01 March 2006 by

Whitbread's budget hotel business has remained the gem in its portfolio, as sales continue to languish at its other businesses.

Premier Travel Inn saw like-for-like sales growth in the 50 weeks to 16 February 2006 of 6.9%, and total sales increase 28.1%.

The chain hit the 30,000-room milestone with the opening of the Hammersmith Premier Travel Inn in London this week. Whitbread aims to have 45,000 rooms in the UK by the end of 2010.

Whitbread's total sales for the period increased by 7.4% year-on-year, but its other divisions suffered in the competitive marketplace.

Like-for-like sales fell 2% year-on-year at the pub-restaurant division, despite a new pricing structure at Beefeater.

Despite achieving an all-time membership high of 364,000 during the period, like-for-like sales at David Lloyd Leisure slipped by 0.6%.

Costa enjoyed a good year, with total sales up 12.8% and fourth-quarter like-for-like sales up 4.8%, but Pizza Hut and TGI Friday's found things tough and like-for-like sales at the high-street restaurant division fell 3.7%.

Whitbread chief executive Alan Parker said: "Since the last trading update the business has performed as expected and we anticipate the outrun for the year will be in line with our expectations."

By Chris Druce

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