Costa, Premier Inn brands drive Whitbread sales growth

Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel and restaurant group, has reported a jump in second-quarter sales thanks largely to the success of its Premier Inn and Costa brands.

The company saw total sales rise by 14.8 per cent in the 11 weeks to August 16th, with like-for-like sales growth of 4.2 per cent.

Whitbread's budget hotel chain Premier Inn saw particularly strong growth, with the company citing the London Olympics as providing a "modest benefit" to sales figures thanks largely to increased room rates.

Overall, Premier Inn achieved total sales growth of 13 per cent during the quarter, with RevPAR, (revenue per available room) growing by 1.9 per cent.

This means the chain considerably outperformed the rest of the mid-scale and economy hotel sectors, which saw a RevPAR decline of 4.3 per cent during the period.

Whitbread estimates that the RevPAR benefit from the Olympic period was just over one percentage point on total RevPAR in the second quarter.

The quarter also saw the continued expansion of Premier Inn in the UK, with a net of 1,565 rooms having been opened in the year to date.

Furthermore, Whitbread plans to open around 4,500 rooms in total by the year end, raising the possibility of new hotel recruitment opportunities.

Meanwhile, the group's other standout performer was its Costa coffee shop brand, which saw total sales increase by 25.3 per cent, while like-for-like sales were up 5.7 per cent.

Whitbread opened 50 net new UK Costa branches in the quarter, as well as continuing its international expansion, opening the first Costa outlet in Singapore as well as launching in 12 new locations in China.

"Whitbread has continued to deliver good sales growth with total sales up 14.8 per cent in our second quarter," said Andy Harrison, chief executive of Whitbread.

"Our brands have outperformed in a tough economic climate, with like for like sales growth of 4.2 per cent and we have continued our network expansion at Costa and Premier Inn."

Berkeley Scott is a specialist agency providing hotel recruitment in London