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Thu 27th Feb 2014 - Breaking News - Whitbread reports 6.8% like-for-likes
Whitbread reports 6.8% like-for-like growth: Whitbread has reported 6.8% like-for-like sales growth in its 11-week fourth quarter to 13 February. The sales growth is an acceleration of full-year trends in the 50 weeks to 13 February, which saw like-for-likes up 4%. Star performer was Premier Inn, which saw like-for-likes in the fourth quarter up 8.3% compared to the 4.7% over the financial year. Costa Coffee saw like-for-like sales up 7.3% in the 11-week quarter compared to a 5.8% year-long figure. Pub restaurants also grew like-for-like sales by 4.4% in the quarter compared to its 1.3% growth over the 50 weeks. Chief executive Andy Harrison said: “Whitbread delivered a strong fourth quarter, with total sales growth of 14.0% and like for like sales growth of 6.8%, driven by a particularly good Christmas trading period and, to a lesser extent, favourable weather comparatives in January. Premier Inn grew total sales by 15.2% and like for like sales by 8.3% in the fourth quarter, with a 5.7% increase in rooms available. We grew total revpar in London and the UK Regions by 7.0% and 9.6% respectively. We continue to invest in our product quality and the Premier Inn brand with the launch of “our best ever bed” campaign. This is a central pillar of our enhanced refurbishment programme. The performance of Whitbread Restaurants continued to improve and benefitted from the absence of snow with like for like sales growth of 4.4% in the quarter. We welcomed some 92,000 guests to our restaurants on Christmas Day with sales up 5.8%. Costa had an excellent fourth quarter with total sales growth of 18.2%, driven by 312 net new store openings in the year and 7.3% UK like for like sales growth. Our Christmas campaign was well received, with like for like store transactions up 6.1% in the quarter. The strong fourth quarter brings our year to date growth in total sales to 13.2% and like for like sales growth to 4.0%. This puts us on track to deliver full year results towards the top end of current expectations.”

Domino’s UK reports 14.6% like-for-like growth in early 2014: Domino’s UK has reported 7% like-for-like sales growth at its 670 mature UK stores for the 52 weeks ending 29 December 2013 – and 14.6% in the first seven weeks of 2014. Total sales increased 14% to £668.8m with pre-tax profit, including Germany and Switzerland, up 1.9% to £47.6m. Like-for-like sales for the first seven weeks of 2014 in the Republic of Ireland are up 4.6% and up 3.8% in Germany. The company opened 57 new stores in the year and closed four to grow estate size across the four countries it trades in to 858. Chief executive David Wild said: “It’s been another strong year for Domino’s and I am particularly delighted by the sales performance in our core UK business, which has continued into 2014, confirming the strength of our offer for both new and existing customers. The recovery in the Republic of Ireland is also pleasing. Whilst we have learnt some hard lessons in Germany, we now have a clear way forward and must focus on the delivery of this change in direction. We sold 65.5 million pizzas across the Group during the year and created over 1,500 jobs, which is no mean feat. I’d therefore like to give a big thank you to my colleagues and franchisees who have all been crucial in delivering this result, through their commitment to this great brand. We remain focused on delivering our strategy into 2014 and beyond and I am excited by the numerous initiatives I see in all areas of the business. By working with the franchisees and my colleagues at Domino’s, I look forward to fulfilling my role over the coming months to progress the Group’s exciting growth plans for the future.” Numis Securities analyst Douglas Jack issued a buy note with a Target Price of 710p. He said: “Encouragingly, UK like-for-like sales are up 14.6% in early 2014E and UK expansion plans are being pegged at 45 new traditional stores pa, a basis for potential upgrades later in 2014E. However, we have again cut our forecasts for Germany (albeit with losses still forecast to fall).”

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