Whitbread PLC trading rebounds as hotels and pubs reopen

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() said trading has recovered strongly since the easing of Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions across England, Wales and most of Scotland on 17 May.

Demand has been strong in tourist locations said the Premier Inn and Beefeater Inn owner in a trading update, especially during the half-term holiday though London and airport locations are still weak.

Nevertheless, results are still being heavily affected by lockdown restrictions, it added. 

In the 13 weeks to 27 May, revenues fell 71% on a like-for-like basis, with the UK down 70.9% and Germany 82% lower.

Since 17 May, however,  the decline in hotel accommodation was 27% with occupancy at 74%.

Whitbread said booking trends for the summer were also strong across most of the estate with nearly all of its hotels now open.

The group added it had also started to invest again with a return to pre-pandemic spending levels on room refurbishment scheduled for 2022 and a further 1,500 Premier Inn rooms and three new hotels in Germany planned.

During the first quarter, the group opened 10 new hotels in the UK.

Alison Brittain, chief executive, said Whitbread had traded significantly ahead of the market during the quarter, despite the impact of COVID for the majority of the first quarter.

“Trading in the UK since May 17, when overnight leisure stays were permitted, and when our restaurants fully reopened for indoor service, has been encouraging,” she added.

“Additionally, our forward bookings continue to improve, benefiting from the anticipated post-lockdown bounce in leisure demand, and a continued gradual improvement in business bookings.”

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