David Thomas, who retired as chief executive of Whitbread on Tuesday, left the company on a high, reporting like-for-like first-quarter sales increases across all its businesses.
For the 13 weeks to 3 June sales across the group increased by 3.4%. Four-star hotel chain Marriott led the pack with a 6% hike in like-for-like sales during the period.
Comparative sales for the full year across the chain are 0.2% down on 2003.
Budget hotel group Travel Inn continued its sales growth, reporting a 5.9% increase. Whitbread's pub and high-street restaurants recorded like-for-like sales increases of 0.5% and 3.3%, respectively. Thomas said trading at the group's pub restaurants had been adversely affected by the temporary closure of several Beefeaters for conversion to their new format.
Alan Parker, former managing director of Whitbread Hotel Company, has taken over from Thomas.