Whitbread posts marginal UK sales rise for Q3

Whitbread has reported that UK total sales increased by 0.3% for Q3, marginally improving the year-to-date run rate.

UK food and beverage figures stood at 1.9% for Q3, up from 1% year-to-date. In like for likes F&B was 0.4%, down slightly from 0.7%.

There was good progress made on optimising the UK network, including 19 hotels trialling Premier Plus rooms.

The group said it expects to deliver FY20 Results in-line with expectations.

Alison Brittain, Whitbread PLC Chief Executive, said, 'Whitbread delivered a robust performance in the third quarter, growing total sales by 1%, despite challenging market conditions in the UK. We now have over 80,000 rooms in the UK & internationally, operating under the Premier Inn brand, with a committed pipeline of over 20,000 additional rooms.

'We also continue to achieve strong results from our efficiency programme, which is helping to partially offset high industry cost inflation and means we are on track to achieve our full year expectations for FY20.'

Brittain continued, 'The UK business achieved total sales growth of 0.3% in the third quarter. Our performance in the quarter reflects a good F&B performance and marginally declining total accommodation sales. Weak business and leisure confidence in the regions continued, which was partially offset by the strength of the central London market, where we outperformed.

'Our growth in Germany remains firmly on target as our confidence strengthens for the long-term market opportunity. We are pleased with the performance of all three hotels we have opened to-date, in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, and continue to extend the total committed pipeline in Germany.

'The open plus committed pipeline now stands at around 8,500 rooms across 48 hotels, including 22 hotels from the Foremost Hospitality and AcomHotel acquisitions. We will be opening around 20 hotels through the course of 2020.'

Brittain concluded, 'Despite the short-term economic uncertainty, there remains significant long-term opportunities for Premier Inn in both the UK and Germany. We can access these due to our strong financial position, resilient model and ongoing investment to improve our market-leading proposition.

'Continuing to invest in growth and optimisation through our disciplined approach to capital allocation ensures we can create sustainable value for shareholders over the longer-term.'

Outlook for FY21
Whitbread is confident in its plans given the significant structural growth opportunities in the UK and internationally. The UK political & economic environment remains uncertain and the sustained industry inflation continues. It remains difficult to predict business confidence in the short-term and its impact on the market.

However, Whitbread's strong balance sheet, efficiency programme, resilient business model and ongoing investment puts it in a strong relative position to benefit as the environment improves.

The group is planning approximately 4,500 new rooms across the UK & Ireland (c.3,000) and Germany (c.1,500).