Whitbread first quarter performance hit by Royal Wedding

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Premier inn Cent Whitbread Hotel

Premier Inn REVpar in Q1 2011 was driven by the London market
Premier Inn REVpar in Q1 2011 was driven by the London market
Premier Inn operator Whitbread has reported a continued sales increase in its first financial quarter, but said that business suffered in April as a result of the extended Easter and the Royal Wedding holiday.

Like for like sales across the group, which includes Premier Inn, Restaurants, Hotels & Restaurants and Costa, were up 1.7 per cent in the 13 weeks to 2 June 2011, compared to the previous year.

“The trading momentum of the Group in the first quarter was consistent with the outlook at our preliminary results announcement at the end of April. Total sales increased by 9.2 per cent with like for like sales up 1.7 per cent although our business was adversely affected by the extended Easter and Royal Wedding holiday, said Andy Harrison, chief executive of Whitbread.

“Since then Costa and Premier Inn have traded well. Premier Inn REVpar is continuing to benefit from a stronger London market, whereas in the provinces our Restaurants are being impacted in a more difficult casual dining market.”

Hotels and Restaurants

Sales figures for the group’s hotel and restaurant business were not released in the interim trading update.

However, the group said like for like REVpar for Premier Inn grew by 2.4 per cent in the quarter, with rate up 2.2 per cent. Overall performance was driven by the London market, where REVpar grew by 8.8. per cent, compared to 1.2 per cent in the provinces.

Total room nights sold in the period rose by 5.9 per cent to 2.9m. Occupancy was 75.3 per cent, marginally higher than the 75.1 per cent recorded in the first quarter of 2010.

Whitbread said its Restaurants business delivered a total covers growth of 0.8 per cent, although total sales were up by only 0.2 per cent in the period. Like for like sales fell by 1.4 per cent.

The quarter saw the opening of 743 new rooms and three restaurants. By the end of the year, Whitbread said it plans to have opened around 4,000 new rooms and 14 restaurants.

Costa

Whitbread’s Costs business reported total sales increases of 20.4 per cent, up to £182.5m, with total franchise system sales up 18.8 per cent to £75.9m.

Costa opened 73 new stores in the first 13 weeks of this financial year. Whitbread said it plans to add approximately 300 stores worldwide in 2011/12. It will also rebrand 500 units to Costa Express and add a further 200 new units taking the total Costa Express/Coffee Nation estate to around 1,100 units.

“We are continuing with disciplined investment in our network to deliver our five-year growth milestones,” said Harrison.

“We are confident that investing in our strong brand propositions of Premier Inn and Costa and introducing further value offers in Restaurants will enable us to win market share and deliver good returns for our shareholders. In Q1 Costa grew total sales by 22.5 per cent and Premier Inn's total sales grew by 8.1 per cent.”

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