Premier Inn parent company Whitbread has reported a "solid" third-quarter performance, with total sales growth of 1%, but is taking a "cautious approach" to hotel demand.
Weaker business and consumer confidence in the regions saw Premier Inn's total accommodation sales decline slightly by 0.4%, offset by the stronger London market, as well as the addition of more than 1,000 rooms over the last year. F&B sales grew by 1.9%.
London, meanwhile, saw total sales growth of 4.8%, and the start of the fourth quarter has seen more positive regional data, however the business said a level of caution remains on the UK hotel environment. For the financial year 2021 it said it was taking a "cautious approach" to hotel demand, especially relating to business customer demand in the regions.
While maintaining occupancy levels of around 80%, Whitbread expects to add 5,000 new rooms this year, including 3,000 in the UK, although net room openings in the UK will be slightly lower at around 2,500, including eight hotel disposals this year.
Alison Brittain, Whitbread chief executive, said: "Whitbread delivered a robust performance in the third quarter, growing total sales by 1%, despite challenging market conditions in the UK. We now have over 80,000 rooms in the UK & internationally, operating under the Premier Inn brand, with a committed pipeline of over 20,000 additional rooms. We also continue to achieve strong results from our efficiency programme, which is helping to partially offset high industry cost inflation and means we are on track to achieve our full year expectations for FY20…
"Despite the short-term economic uncertainty, there remains significant long-term opportunities for Premier Inn in both the UK and Germany."