Page last updated at 11:01 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

Whitbread hit by Premier Inn slip

Premier Inn sign
Whitbread said it had been hit by lower occupancy at its Premier Inn

Leisure firm Whitbread has seen sales growth slow as fewer people stayed at its budget Premier Inn hotels.

Like-for-like sales across the group were up by 4.9% for the 50 weeks to 12 February 2009, a slowdown from the 6.7% growth reported to late November.

Whitbread, which also owns Costa Coffee and Beefeater, said recent sales had been "predominantly negative" - with February's snow having some impact.

It also said it would halve its capital expenditure to 170m in the next year.

Whitbread chief executive Alan Parker told the BBC the group had felt the effects of a slowdown in the consumer market in the last two months.

"Britain got back to work quite late. It was about mid-January before we saw people back in our hotels and restaurants," he said.

"Then the snow came in February so it's been a bit up and down over the last eight weeks."

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