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Whitbread sees UK sales fall in Q1

Restaurant and hotel group, Whitbread has reported Q1 results showing that on a like-for-like (LFL) basis, UK sales fell by 3.7%.

The owner of Premier Inn saw declining occupancy and lower room rates pushed LFL accommodation sales down 4.6%, and LFL revenue per available room down 6% - a worse performance than the wider market.

The company, which owns Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Table Table, reported food & beverage LFL sales fell 2.1%. Including the effect of new openings and the German business, total sales were 1% lower.

CEO Alison Brittain (pictured) said, 'We have delivered a resilient performance in the first quarter despite more challenging market conditions and we continue to make good progress with our efficiency programme, which is helping to partially offset another year of high industry cost inflation.'

Another 3,000-3,500 rooms are due to be added in the UK this year, while the roll-out in Germany is on target. The hotel in Hamburg performing above expectations and Frankfurt doing well too.

Two more sites are due to open this year, and 13 of the 19 hotels acquired through the Foremost Hospitality deal are due to be rebranded as Premier Inns.

Just over year ago, Whitbread announced its plans to demerge its coffee chain, Costa, from the group, with the company eventually selling the unit to Coca-Cola in August 2018 for £3.9bn.

Capital from the deal has enabled the hotel and restaurant group to expand other operations at a faster pace, particularly of Premier Inn in the UK and Germany.