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Wed 15th Jun 2022 - Whitbread reports ‘very strong trading ahead of expectations’ with F&B sales approaching pre-covid levels
Whitbread reports ‘very strong trading ahead of expectations’ with F&B sales approaching pre-covid levels: Whitbread has reported “very strong trading ahead of expectations” in the first quarter of its new financial year. UK food and beverage sales were down 4.3% on pre-covid levels but up 585.3% year-on-year. Total UK accommodation sales were up 31% on pre-covid levels and 235.6% year-on-year. UK like-for-like accommodation sales were 21.3% ahead of pre-covid levels and up 221.6% year-on-year. The company stated: “Given a tight labour market and our focus on maintaining our market leading position, we plan to invest additional costs of £20m to £30m in labour, refurbishments and IT in FY23. However, our high levels of occupancy and continued strong sales performance mean we remain confident in our continued margin recovery in the UK. UK total food and beverage sales have recovered well throughout FY22 and into FY23 and are approaching pre-covid levels (FY20). We anticipate the rollout of new menus, combined with targeted marketing initiatives, will help drive an improvement in sales as we move through the year.” The group has also signed a new £775m revolving credit facility, replacing the previous £850m facility that was due to expire in September 2023. The new five-year facility, with two one year extension options, is a multi-currency revolving credit facility and is provided by a syndicate of seven banks led by Banco Santander, Barclays, NatWest and Bank of China. Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain said: “The strength of Premier Inn's recovery in the UK continues to be ahead of expectations with a particularly strong first quarter performance that is well ahead of pre-pandemic levels and we continue to significantly outperform the market. This outperformance is driven by a number of factors, including our commercial and operational focus as well as the strength of our brand and operating model, our direct distribution, national coverage and accelerated independent supply contraction. In Germany, our open hotel estate now stands at 40 hotels, with a further 38 hotels in the pipeline. The quality and prime location of our hotels are proving highly attractive and are driving high customer scores. The trading performance of our more mature hotels in the two months post the lifting of covid restrictions only reinforces our positive view of the significant opportunity in Germany. This impressive first quarter performance together with improved visibility into the second quarter gives us increased confidence in delivering a strong first half and remaining ahead of the market for the rest of the year.”

Only a quarter of companies in next edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book have profit margin of more than 5%: Only a quarter of the 589 companies in the next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book have a profit margin of more than 5%. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, on Friday, (17 June) at midday. The Blue Book shows the effects of the pandemic, with total losses of £5.8bn being reported by 348 companies. However, a further 241 sector companies are still reporting total profits of £1.1bn. The 589 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators featured have a total turnover of £28.6bn. In the next edition, 31 companies have also reported updated accounts. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive the New Openings Database, produced in association with StarStock, and the Multi-Site Operators Database, produced in association with Virgate, which are also updated each month. Premium subscribers also now have access to the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and will be updated every two months. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Greene King launches tenth Hive pub: Brewer and retailer Greene King has launched its tenth Hive Pub following a £100,000 investment in The Albert Tavern in South Norwood, London. The pub will be run by franchisee Tammy Hardy. It will offer a menu of pub classics curated by the food team at Greene King and show all major sports events on Sky Sports and BT Sport. Wayne Shurvinton, managing director for Greene King Pub Partners, said: “It is fantastic to reach the milestone of our tenth Hive Pub opening. We are really pleased with the success of our Hive Pubs so far and look forward to opening even more in the coming weeks and months.” Greene King, which last month launched The Globe in Chelmsford as its ninth Hive pub, earlier this week added to its Hive team by appointing James Corbett as learning and development manager.

Tom Sellers to open restaurant at new 1 Hotel Mayfair: Two-Michelin starred chef Tom Sellers is to open a restaurant at the new 1 Hotel Mayfair in London. The 181-bedroom, nine-storey, hotel will be 1 Hotels’ debut European property and will overlook Green Park. The restaurant, slated to open in 2023 alongside the hotel, will be “grounded in a deep respect for seasonal, organic and locally sourced ingredients”. Sellers said: "1 Hotels’ unrivalled focus on sustainability and their innovative approach to hospitality is a natural fit with my own food ethos – by partnering together we can push the boundaries of zero waste, conscious creativity. I have always loved classical cooking and I feel now is the time to present world-class produce sourced sustainably and celebrated in the season we find it. The philosophy will be underpinned by knowledge and executed with creative thought and detail.” Sellers also runs Restaurant Story, which was awarded a Michelin star five months after opening. Alongside the restaurant, the hotel will also feature a signature destination bar, an in-house cafe and a bespoke fitness and wellness centre. 1 Hotels has a global portfolio of properties including flagships in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, with projects under development in London, Hanalei Bay, Nashville, San Francisco, Crete, Paris, Copenhagen and Melbourne. 1 Hotels is operated by SH Hotels & Resorts, an affiliate of Starwood Capital Group. 1 Hotel Mayfair is being developed in partnership with Crosstree Real Estate, a London-based private real estate investor behind other notable hotel projects such as The Standard in Kings Cross and Mama Shelter in Shoreditch.

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