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FTSE 100: Premier Inn owner Whitbread share price surges on strong sales

Signages of the Premier Inn Hotel and Brewers Fayre are seen outside the Durham North branch after the chain announced job cuts nationwide, in County Durham, Britain, September 22, 2020. REUTERS/Lee Smith
Premier Inn Hotel sales jumped 22% this Christmas. Photo: Lee Smith/Reuters

Premier Inn owner Whitbread (WTB.L) reported continued growth in its UK and German hotels as sales jumped over 22% over Christmas.

Total revenue per available room (revpar) in the third quarter was up 21% on the same period a year earlier and 27% versus the pre-pandemic period, driven by a strong performance across London and in the regions.

UK accommodation sales were 37% ahead of pre-pandemic levels driven by a combination of increased occupancy, higher average room rate and estate growth, with a strong performance across both London and the regions.

In the 13 weeks to 1 December, total sales rose 22.9% from the same period a year earlier, with sales in the UK and Germany up 19.2% and 158%, respectively.

Read more: FTSE 100: Tesco posts bumper Christmas sales despite cost of living crisis

"The strength of our forward booked position, robust pricing, estate growth and efficiency programme all underpin our confidence in the outlook for full year of 2024," chief executive officer Alison Brittain said in a statement.

On the outlook, pricing is expected to remain strong, even as the cost of living crisis continues to hit households.

“Despite a more challenging period for the UK economy, our winning business model continues to deliver outstanding value and quality for our guests,” Brittain said.

“The strength of our forward booked position, robust pricing, estate growth and efficiency programme all underpin our confidence in the outlook for FY24,” she added.

The company, which owns Beefeater and Bar+Block, kept its cost outlook for fiscal 2023, but forecast net cost inflation on its £1.6bn UK cost base to be up between 7% and 8% next year.

Whitbread shares were among the highest risers on the FTSE 100 on Thursday.

“Premier Inn owner Whitbread shares have got off to a good start to the day after reporting a strong Q3 performance, helped by a healthy rebound in its Germany business which appears to be performing well, as more hotels open there, even though the business is still performing at a loss,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said.

Read more: FTSE 100: M&S sales up 10% after 'record breaking' festive boost

“Sales growth in Germany saw a rise of 158%, helped by the extra capacity. On a like for like basis it still showed an improvement of 81.7%.

“UK sales also performed well with a rise of 19.2%, pushing overall like for like sales growth up by 16.6%. Total like for like sales for the group rose 18.3%.”

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