Whitbread sales beat expectations as the UK’s largest budget hotel operator pulled business from the beleaguered independent sector, while sales in the local market were particularly buoyant.
The owner of the Premier Inn said sales of comparable housing in the UK were up 21.3 per cent in the three months to June 2 compared to the same period in 2019, before the pandemic. Compared to the closing period last year, they have more than tripled.
Shares in Whitbread rose about 4 per cent in early London trading on Wednesday, trimming the year’s decline to 11 per cent.
Chief Executive Alison Britten said on Wednesday that the Premier Inn’s recovery “continues to exceed expectations,” as the hotel chain “significantly” outperformed the market.
Brittain attributed part of the improved performance to “accelerated independent supply contraction.”
The statement said total accommodation sales were 27.2 per cent ahead of competitors in the sector while UK food and beverage sales are approaching pre-Covid levels.
“This impressive performance in the first quarter combined with improved visibility in the second quarter, gives us increased confidence to deliver a strong first half and stay ahead of the market for the rest of the year,” Brittain said.
Greg Johnson, an analyst at Shore Capital, said the Premier Inn was buoyed by particularly high demand in London.
He warned that a consumer-driven recession looming this year could dampen the improving trend in sales.
Germany, too, as it expands and cools, has beat expectations over the past two months as the country emerges from lockdown restrictions.
“We are optimistic that the full-year outlook in Germany is improving,” the statement added. “There is no change in our view of the medium and long-term value creation opportunity for this Premier Inn in Germany.”
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