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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 June, 2005, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Whitbread pubs lack sales cheer
Costa Coffee shop interior
Costa Coffee is one of Whitbread's many High Street brands
Hotels and leisure group Whitbread has reported mixed trading fortunes, with budget hotels performing well while sports clubs and restaurants struggled.

Whitbread reported a 1% increase in underlying first-quarter sales, driven by 8.2% like-for-like growth at its Travel Inn budget hotels.

However, like-for-like sales at its pub-restaurants - Brewers Fayre, Beefeater and Brewsters - dipped 1%.

Its David Lloyd clubs showed virtually no growth, Whitbread said.

However, targeted marketing helped the health club chain stabilise its membership numbers after a recent decline.

Stagnant growth

Its High Street restaurants, which include Costa Coffee, Pizza Hut and TGI Friday's, also showed an absence of growth.

Whitbread's Marriott hotels, meanwhile, saw like-for-like sales grow by 4%.

Premier Travel Inn worker

The board however said it was confident about future prospects.

In March, the group confirmed it was selling its Marriott UK hotels, a move which it said would raise more than 1bn ($1.9bn)

The company has declined to comment on speculation last month that private equity groups Permira and CVC were eyeing a takeover.

The mooted deal valued Whitbread at more than 3.5bn, and raised the possibility of a break-up of the firm.

Talk of a buyout helped Whitbread's shares recover from a slump.

The company had warned in April that profit margins were under pressure from higher wages, energy costs and rising business rates.




SEE ALSO:
Whitbread cautious as sales dip
26 Apr 05 |  Business
Whitbread confirms Marriott sale
14 Mar 05 |  Business
Whitbread in Marriott sale talks
11 Mar 05 |  Business


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