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Thu 11th Dec 2014 - Whitbread: Dempsey steps down, LfLs up 6%
Dempsey steps down at Whitbread: Whitbread has announced that, after ten successful years with the company, Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants (WHR), will be stepping down from the board and leaving the company on 28 February 2015. Paul Flaum, currently head of Whitbread Restaurants, will become the new managing director of WHR on 1 March 2015. Flaum has worked for Whitbread for 11 years and was chief operating officer for WHR prior to becoming MD Restaurants. Reporting to him will be Simon Jones, who becomes MD Premier Inn UK and hub by Premier Inn (currently marketing and strategy director) and Mark Anderson who will add responsibility for Premier Inn Germany to his existing responsibilities for property, procurement and logistics. Chief executive Andy Harrison said: “I would like to thank Patrick for his tremendous contribution to Whitbread over the last decade. During this time we have transformed Premier Inn into the UK’s biggest and best hotel chain and developed exciting new growth opportunities with the launch of hub by Premier Inn, and our recently announced entry into the German hotel market. We have very ambitious growth plans which, combined with the strength of our current performance, makes it a good time to implement our succession plans. The changes announced today broaden the leadership of WHR, provide more focus on our growth opportunities and bring on the next generation of talent. Whitbread has laid out clear five year growth milestones and we have the strength and depth of leadership to successfully deliver those goals.” Chairman Richard Baker said: “Patrick is an outstanding hotelier, and under his leadership Premier Inn has grown rapidly from 32,600 rooms in 2007, when the brand was launched, to 57,000 rooms today. His personal passion for a great guest experience and high team motivation are evident across Premier Inn. On behalf of all my Board colleagues, I’d like to thank Patrick for all he has done, and wish him every success for the future.” Patrick Dempsey said: “I am enormously proud of my team’s achievements with Premier Inn and Whitbread Restaurants. With the Premier Inn brand growing so successfully over the last eight years we believe that now is the right time for me to hand over the baton. I am particularly delighted to see so many internal promotions and have every confidence in the new team.”

Whitbread reports like-for-like sales up 6% in Third Quarter: Whitbread has reported like-for-like sales rose 6% in its Third Quarter, the 13 weeks to 27 November, with total sales up 13.2%. Premier Inn like-for-likes rose 8.5%, Costa Coffee was up 5.2% and pub restaurant sales rose 1.6%. Chief executive Andy Harrison said: “As we said in our interim results on 21 October, our strong trading momentum has continued into the third quarter, with total sales growing by 13.2% and like for like sales up 6.0%. We remain confident of delivering full year results in line with expectations, mindful that the fourth quarter last year was particularly strong, boosted by the absence of snow. In the quarter, Premier Inn grew total sales by 15.4% and like for like sales by 8.5%, with rooms available growing by 6.2%, total revpar up 8.6% and occupancy up 2.6% pts to 84.8%. Our restaurants continue to perform well and like for like sales grew by 1.6%. Costa once again extended its excellent track record, with total sales growth of 17.0% and UK like for like sales growth of 5.2%. Our strong brands continue to win market share, reinforced by our ambitious organic network expansion. We remain on track to open around 4,500 new Premier Inn UK rooms and around 230 net new Costa stores worldwide this year. Our committed UK room pipeline stands at around 12,400 new rooms, with a number of attractive London freehold opportunities at various stages of negotiation.”
Trading highlights:
Hotels and Restaurants:

• For the 39 weeks Premier Inn has continued to win market share and grew total sales by 14.9%, total revpar by 8.7% and the total number of rooms available by 5.8%. Total occupancy grew by 3.3% pts to a high of 84.2% and total room nights sold increased by 10.1% to 12.7 million.

• In London total sales grew by 17.2% in the quarter, with a 14.8% increase in the number of rooms available, whilst maintaining strong occupancy at 89.0% with total revpar growth of 2.0%. The London hotel market total revpar grew by 1.8% and the Midscale and Economy sector grew by 7.2%.

• In the UK regions total sales grew by 14.8% in the quarter, with a 5.1% increase in the number of rooms available, combined with total revpar growth of 9.3% and occupancy rising 2.9% pts to 84.2%. The regional hotel market total revpar grew by 10.8% and the Midscale and Economy sector grew by 13.4%.

• Restaurants delivered a solid performance in the quarter, with like for like sales growth of 1.6% and like for like covers marginally down by 0.2%.

• 2,177 UK rooms have been opened in the year to date, including the first hub by Premier Inn, and for the full year Whitbread plans to open around 4,500 new UK rooms and five joint site restaurants. Its committed UK pipeline now stands at around 12,400 rooms.

• Costa continues to perform strongly, growing total system sales in the 39 weeks by 15.9% to £1,022.0 million, (17.5% at constant currency). Within this, franchise sales were up 14.7% to £398.1 million.

• UK Retail system sales grew by 16.7% to £552.5 million, with equity stores delivering like-for-like sales growth of 5.8%. Whitbread has opened 127 net new UK stores in the year to date.

• Costa Enterprises (including Costa Express) grew system sales to £258.3 million, up 19.3%.

• International system sales grew by 10.7% to £213.5 million (18.3% at constant currency), with a growth of 6.8% (14.8% at constant currency) in EMEI and 18.9% (25.6% at constant currency) in Costa Asia.

• Whitbread plans to open around 230 net new stores worldwide and to install around 800 Costa Express units in the full year.

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