Belfast Telegraph

Whitbread is boosted by busy hotels

By Graeme Evans

Premier Inn and Costa owner Whitbread has described the hotel market as buoyant after seeing the chain deliver another set of impressive sales figures.

Premier's like-for-like sales jumped 9.2% in the 11 weeks to August 14, helped by the improving economy as well as special events such as Farnborough Air Show and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Whitbread's coffee shop chain Costa – which this week announced a deal with Northern Ireland dairy firm Clandeboye – also reported a strong summer as sales rose by 7.3% on a same-store basis.

Across the group, which includes the restaurants Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, underlying sales were 6.8% higher.

The group said Premier's growth was particularly strong in the UK regions, with revenues per available room up 10.1% in the February to August period and occupancy at 82.9% – a rise of four percentage points on a year earlier.

Across the estate, which features more than 57,000 rooms, total occupancy was at an all-time high of 87% in the most recent 11-week period.

Whitbread plans to open 4,500 new Premier Inn rooms and five joint site restaurants along with the addition of 300 Costa stores this year.

Costa total sales grew by 17.8%, aided by weak comparatives.

Belfast Telegraph