Whitbread Trading Statement
Andy Harrison, Chief Executive of Whitbread comments:
"Whitbread has delivered good total sales growth of 11.0% for the year in difficult economic conditions, as we continue to invest in our strong brands. We expect to report in April another full year of double digit earnings growth, in line with expectations.
Following the trend we highlighted in December, industry data*4 has continued to show a soft hotel market in the UK, with a divergence in performance between London and the regions. The market revpar in the regions has declined by around 3% in the quarter, in contrast to a more robust London market especially in the upper segments. Premier Inn has outperformed its competitive set, benefiting from our commitment to maintain our hotels to a consistent high standard. Our scale, strong balance sheet and good returns enable us to continue to expand in line with our plans and win share of the hotel market. Our restaurant business benefitted from better trading over the Christmas period, albeit against snow impacted comparatives, and we remain focused on strengthening our brand propositions.
Costa has delivered excellent results this year, with total sales increasing by 25%, driven by good like for like sales growth and record new store openings of 359 stores (306 net of closures). This includes 71 new stores in China bringing our presence there to 163 stores. We are approaching the first anniversary of the acquisition of Coffee Nation and the launch of Costa Express. We have been very pleased by the positive customer reaction and our growth plans for this business are ahead of our original expectations.
We have around 10,000 Premier Inn rooms in our committed pipeline, which together with Costa's growth plan means that we expect to create a further 10,000 jobs in the UK over the next 3 years, in addition to the 2,500 that we have created in 2011/12"