Whitbread maintains restaurant performance with 'sharper focus'

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Premier inn Whitbread

Whitbread has reported a rise in like-for-like sales driven mainly by its Costa Coffee business but said a 'sharper focus' on its restaurants like Beefeater had helped maintain performance
Whitbread has reported a rise in like-for-like sales driven mainly by its Costa Coffee business but said a 'sharper focus' on its restaurants like Beefeater had helped maintain performance
Premier Inn, Costa Coffee and Beefeater operator Whitbread has reported a rise in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 31 May driven by its coffee shop and hotel business but said a 'sharper focus' on restaurants was yielding results.

Announcing its interim management statement, Whitbread said total sales in the period had jumped by nearly 14 per cent from a year ago leaving like-for-like sales growth of 4.5 per cent.

Once again Costa Coffee was the best performing segment of the Whitbread business repeating the trend reported in the final year results for the company which were released in April​. Total sales for the coffee shops were up by more than 25 per cent which translated into a like-for-like growth of 8.4 per cent.

Sharper focus

Andy Harrison, Whitbread chief executive, said while the strong Costa business and the continuing expansion plans for Premier Inn were driving success, they were not the only good news in the Group's latest results.

"We are pleased to see that the sharper focus in our restaurants business has helped maintain its improved performance," he said. The restaurants business, including Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, saw like-for-like sales growth of 2.1 per cent in the period.

Hotels

Whitbread is currently implementing an ambitious expansion programme for its hotel business​ with plans to open 65,000 Premier Inn hotel rooms by 2016.

In the period Premier Inn total sales grew by 12.4 per cent leaving like-for-like sales of more than 4 per cent. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) grew by 2.9 per cent in the 13 weeks boosted by a strong April which Whitbread said had delivered a RevPAR fall for the rest of the midscale and economy sectors.

Uncertain impact

Although Harrison was positive about the Group's performance and said expansion plans remained on track, he said the company would face a tougher second quarter of the year and was unable to know whether there would be a positive impact from the summer of sport.

"Our plans for profitable growth are well established, supported by our strong balance sheet, and we plan to open 4,200 Premier Inn rooms, eight joint site restaurants and 350 new Costa stores this financial year, creating an additional 3,500 UK jobs."

"April benefitted substantially from a weak comparative due to the extended Royal Wedding holiday in 2011.  For the second quarter we face tougher comparatives against a strong result last year, together with the uncertain impact of this summer’s major sporting events," he concluded. 

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