Premier Inn revenues rise marginally 

Whitbread today (October 13) reported a 10.4% drop in pre-tax profits from £123.3m to £110.5m for the first six months of its financial year.

The company, which owns the UK’s largest hotel chain Premier Inn, said revenue from the properties held steady, rising by 0.4% from £311m to £312.1m.

Whitbread said revenue from restaurants attached to hotels fell by 3% from £244.1m to £236.7m.

Operating profits for the Premier Inn hotels and restaurants fell by 4.6% in the six month from £133.9m in 2008 to £127.8m this year.

The group, which also includes coffee houses, said total revenue was up by 3.1% from £682.2m to £703.3m.

Its overall profit for the six months to August 27 was £73.1m compared to £39.9m in 2008.  

Anthony Habgood, Whitbread’s chairman said: “Whitbread is coming through a difficult period relatively well. 

“Total revenues at our hotels and restaurants business were marginally lower while at Costa (the coffee house chain) they were up more than 20%.

“We remain focused on managing the business tightly during these challenging times and ensuring the Company is well-placed to benefit when conditions improve.”

Alan Parker, Whitbread’s ceo, said: “In the face of the toughest trading conditions for years, we have taken strong management actions to outperform the market and reduce costs.

“Encouraging progress has been made, which has continued into the second half of the year.”

Mr Parker said despite a 9.2% fall in revPAR (revenue per available room) Premier Inn had “again outperformed the hotel market which was down 11%”.

He said the chain was continuing to drive business and it had “widened our online booking distribution channels, bringing in new revenue streams and introducing new leisure customers to the brand”.

He said the group was on course to take £25m structural costs out of the business by the end of 2010/20112, as planned with savings of £20m by the end of this year.

Mr Parker said he expected trading conditions to “remain difficult for the foreseeable future”.  

But he said Whitbread was well prepared to expand when the time was right.

Expansion included a pipeline of 10,000 rooms with 7,000 already committed.

This included plans to build four new hotels, totalling 1,570 rooms at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports.

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