Premier Inn lifts Whitbread sales

Image caption,
Whitbread says business account sales at Premier Inn grew by 21%

UK hotel and restaurant group Whitbread has said it has seen a strong start to the year, boosted by a rise in sales at its Premier Inn chain.

Like-for-like sales at the budget hotel rose 10.5% in the 13 weeks to 3 June, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Sales across the Whitbread group were up 7.6% over the same period.

Whitbread also owns the Beefeater restaurant chain, Brewers Fayre pubs and Costa Coffee shops.

Chief executive Alan Parker said growing sales at Premier Inn reflected "both an improvement in the market and a significant increase in share".

Sales at Costa rose 8.5%, while those at Whitbread's pub restaurants rose 3.6%.

In recent months the group has targeted longer term expansion. It has opened four new Premier Inns in the past quarter and has plans to open about 250 new Costa stores in the current financial year.

"In these times of austerity, our strategy of value for money hospitality brands in growing segments of the market has put us in a position of relative strength," said Mr Parker.

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