Premier Inn owner Whitbread publishes positive trading update

Whitbread's chief executive, Andy Harrison, has reacted positively to the organisation's latest trading update, released February 27th.

The Premier Inn and Costa owner brought about a strong final quarter to 2013, he said.

Total sales were up 14 per cent and there was 6.8 per cent like for like sales growth. 

The driver behind this was a very good trading period around Christmas, as well as "favourable weather comparatives" last month – though this latter factor played less of a part, he explained.

He noted other data, such as an international stat showing total sales for Premier Inn were up 15.2 per cent and a UK and Ireland specific statistic showing like for like sales grew 8.3 per cent for the hotel chain in Q4.
Room availability went up 5.7 per cent he also noted, again referring to this part of the world.

"We grew total revpar in London and the UK Regions by 7.0% and 9.6% respectively. We continue to invest in our product quality and the Premier Inn brand with the launch of "our best ever bed" campaign," the chief executive added.

The campaign is central to a refurbishment scheme for Premier Inn, he added.

Moving on to discuss Whitbread Restaurants, he said performance was still improving, and had gained benefit from the lack of snow this year, seeing like for like sales up 4.4 per cent for Q4.

Whitbread is on target to bring about full-year results that are near the top of present expectations, he concluded.

Premier Inn also saw Q4 total sales growth of 17 per cent in London. UK regions saw 14.3 per cent total sales growth.

For the year 2014/15, it's planned that Premier Inn will open some 4,500 rooms – and the brand has a committed pipeline for the UK of 10,500 rooms.