The Whitbread Group has proven to be one of the strongest players in the leisure and hospitality industries in recent years, with expansion and investment into its subsidiary businesses becoming the cornerstone of its success. Now, its latest quarterly trading report has demonstrated that its star continues to rise, with both its Premier Inn and Costa Coffee chains outperforming rivals in their respective markets.
At Premier Inn, like for like sales rose by 9.2 per cent in the 11 weeks to the 24th of August, making the hotel chain the stand-out performer in Whitbread’s portfolio. Furthermore, in the 24 weeks to the 14th of August, revenue per available room climbed by 8.7 per cent when compared to the same period last year while the total number of room nights sold increased by 10.4 per cent to 7.7 million – indicating that consumers are increasingly turning to the budget hotel business for their travel needs.
In part, this is due to the large investment made into increasing room numbers made by Whitbread between the 27th of February and the 14th of August. During the period, 758 hotel rooms were added to the Premier Inn portfolio, bringing the total number of rooms available to 55,035.
Costa Coffee meanwhile enjoyed huge international success, with a total worldwide sales growth of 15.3 per cent to £604.2 million during the 24 week period. Franchise sales also grew, this time by 14.2 per cent year on year, bringing the total figure to £236.7 million.
The performance of both Premier Inn and Costa Coffee allowed Whitbread to post extremely positive quarterly results, with like for like sales increasing by 6.8 per cent in the 11 weeks to the 24th of August. When the effects of new openings were stripped out, total sales rose by 12.8 per cent year on year.
Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison revealed that further investments would be made in the coming year in order to build momentum in its top performing brands.
He said; “We have delivered another strong quarter’s trading, thanks to the hard work of all the Whitbread teams. This maintains our excellent growth record.
“Whitbread remains on track for another good year – our strong brands continue to win market share, reinforced by ambitious organic network expansion.
“We plan to open around 4,500 new Premier Inn rooms and five joint site restaurants along with around 300 net new Costa stores this year. Our committed pipeline has grown to around 13,000 UK rooms.”
In further good news, the group’s struggling restaurant arm, which suffered from the downturn seen throughout the pub industry during the recession, appears to be on track for strong recovery. Brands such as Beefeater and Brewers Fayre contributed to a sales growth of 1.7 per cent during the 24 week period, bolstered by events such as the Commonwealth Games and Farnborough Air Show.
With all of Whitbread’s key brands continuing to post strong results, it appears that the British group is well on track to meeting its annual targets for the current financial year.
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