Whitbread reports slowdown in sales

Jim Slater: managing director of Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee Enterprises
Jim Slater: managing director of Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee Enterprises

Costa Coffee and Premier Inn owner Whitbread has reported a slowing down in its like-for-like sales increase, after it was hit by customers shying away from Its London hotels.

Whitbread today (13 December) updated the market on its trading performance in the 13 weeks to 1 December.

The company has been one of the strong performers during the recession, as consumers opted to stay in their hotels to save cash, and favoured their coffees.

However, its latest trading update reveals a slow down in sales. Like-for-like sales at Premier Inn grew by 2.6% in the 13 weeks, compared to 4.3% in the 39 previous weeks.

Costa Coffee, which recently unveiled a restructure of its operations, reported a rise in sales of 3.8% in the 13 weeks, compared to 5.6% in the 39 previous weeks.

Andrew Harrison, chief executive of Whitbread, said: "As we said at the half year, trading month by month continues to be variable in a challenging consumer environment. Within the total hotel market, industry data shows that revpar (revenue per room) growth in London and the provinces has virtually disappeared.

Nevertheless, Premier Inn continues to win share in both markets. Restaurants have responded positively to the actions we are taking to improve performance. Costa has continued its good growth both in terms of like-for-like sales and store numbers."

In October, Whitbread disclosed that the brand positioning and advertising for Beefeater Grill, Brewers Fayre and Table Table is under review, led by David Murdin, Whitbread's restaurant marketing director. 

Follow John Reynolds on Twitter   @johnreynolds10


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