Whitbread sees sales growth but wary of Omicron and inflation impact

Premier Inn Wells
Premier Inn Wells. (Whitbread)

Premier Inn owner Whitbread reported a 5% growth in sales over the third quarter but highlighted the potential impact of the Omicron variant and inflation. 

In the UK, Premier Inn total accommodation sales were 10.6% ahead of FY20 and like-for-like UK accommodation sales 5.5% ahead. The group's 32 open hotels in Germany achieved occupancy levels of 59.9%, up from 47.5% in Q2, in line with the market.

The emergence of Omicron dampened demand in December and through the festive period, however Premier Inn UK total accommodation sales continued to outperform the market.
And while sector cost inflation is likely to be above historic average levels, Whitbread expects to be able to largely offset these higher levels through cost efficiencies, estate growth and higher prices.

What They Said

Alison Brittain, CEO, said: "Q3 represented another strong performance in the UK with Premier Inn continuing to trade significantly ahead of the market. High levels of leisure demand and improving business demand helped maintain like-for-like accommodation sales ahead of pre COVID-19 levels. 

“UK accommodation sales remained resilient in December, albeit softening as we moved through the month and into the festive period as a result of the onset of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. Whilst our hotel performance was excellent, the value pub and restaurant sector in which we operate remains more challenging.”