Whitbread – owner of the Premier Inn, Costa, Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Table Table brands – has announced a slow-down in its trading in the first months of 2016, following Alison Brittain's appointment as chief executive in December of last year.
Like-for-like sales increased by 3.2% across all brands for the 50 weeks to 11 February, white total sales grew 10.4% during the period. But for the 11 weeks to 11 February, total sales were only up 7.7% and like-for-like sales grew just 1.7%.
The company’s restaurants delivered total sales growth of 2.2% and like-for-like sales growth of 1% for the 50 weeks, which Whitbread said was ahead of its competitor set. Costa grew its like-for-like UK sales by 3% for the 50 week-period, opening 103 new UK stores during the period.
Premier Inn grew total sales by 7.3%, with like-for-like sales grew by 2.2%.
Brittain said: 'Whitbread has had another good trading period. Costa had good total sales growth of 10.5% [for the 11 week period] and like-for-like sales growth of 0.5% reflecting lower footfall on the high street and an unusually warm winter.
'In the year ahead, as we build towards our growth milestones, we will continue to invest in improving our customer propositions, our digital and IT capabilities and in our winning teams to ensure we maintain our market leading positions. This will deliver long term profitable growth and sustainable returns for our shareholders.'
Whitbread plans to open around 5,500 new UK Premier Inn rooms during 2016, and about 200 new Costa stores worldwide. The company currently employs 48,500 people in over 2,200 UK outlets, serving over 27 million UK customers every month.