Hotels and restaurants group Whitbread has reported a growth in like-for-like sales to February 2015, with Premier Inn looking particularly strong.
In its fourth quarter sales results, for the 50 weeks to 12 February, the group posted a like-for-like sales increase for Premier Inn of 9.1% compared with the same time last year. This was significantly higher than the growth in its restaurants division (2.2% up) and for hotels and restaurants combined (6.6%). Coffee group Costa, also owned by Whitbread, grew sales by 6%.
Overall growth in sales across the group was up 6.5% on last year, while total sales were at 13.3%, also across the whole group (Premier Inn, restaurants, hotels and restaurants, and Costa).
In the fourth quarter only, Premier Inn saw total sales growth of 16.5% in the 11 weeks to 12 February, a figure matched only by Costa's sales growth in the same time, which was up by 19.8%. Revpar (revenue per available room) grew by 8.9% in the final quarter, while occupancy was up 3.3% on last year.
Christmas was hailed as a success for the group, with restaurants growing by 1.6%, and in-store transactions up 4.4%, in the final quarter; although January was deemed "softer".
In the past 12 months, the group has seen a net expansion, with Premier Inn having opened 3,196 rooms and closing 257 (a net increase of 2,939 rooms to 59,677). Similarly, it opened 345 Costa stores and closed 140, taking the total to 3,066 worldwide. Restaurants grew from 401 to 404 sites, with no closures.
Andy Harrison, chief executive of Whitbread, said: "We have continued our strong trading momentumâ¦ Premier Inn and Costa continue to grow rapidly, winning UK market share, with Premier Inn also benefiting from the recovery in the UK regional hotel market. With this strong performance we expect to deliver full year results towards the top end of current expectations."
The group's full year annual results are expected to be announced on 28 April.
Strong sales at Premier Inn and Costa Coffee push Whitbread sales up by 6.8% >>