Budget hotels do the business for Whitbread

02 September 2004
Budget hotels do the business for Whitbread

Whitbread's Travel Inn budget hotels were the star performers for the group in the first 24 weeks of the company's financial year.

Like-for-like sales growth at Travel Inn during the period to 19 August was 6.3%. This compares with growth of 3.6% during the financial year to 4 March.

The group's Marriott hotels also put in a strong showing, with like-for-like sales up by 4.9%, against a drop of 0.2% in the previous full year.

But pub-restaurants, which include Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, increased sales by just 0.4%, against 2.2% last year.

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Pizza Hut: maintained position
High-street restaurants, including Costa, Pizza Hut and TGI Fridays, performed better. Sales growth here was 3%. Chief executive Alan Parker said: "With the newly acquired Premier Lodge business, budget hotels will account for an even higher proportion of Whitbread's operating profit, so Travel Inn's continuing strong performance is particularly pleasing. "The integration of the two brands is going well and I can confirm that the year-to-date performance of the business that we acquired is meeting our expectations. "Marriott's like-for-like performance has continued to benefit from the improvement in the four-star hotel market. "The pub restaurants' conversions to the new format are producing healthy sales uplifts but like-for-like sales in the period were affected by the poor weather and a strong comparative period last year. "The high-street brands broadly maintained their position." He added: "Some of the brands achieved slightly lower like-for-like sales growth than anticipated. In the longer term, however, I am confident that there are a number of areas of unrealised potential." Buy this week's *Caterer* magazine for more industry news and analysis
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