The Week In Review: No-frills hotels power success of Whitbread

Whitbread has struck gold with its no-frills Premier Inn hotels. Occupancy is at a best-ever 82.7 per cent, fuelled by demand from business travellers. It is now aiming for another 10,000 rooms via new openings and acquisitions. This week's trading update showed impressive growth from Premier, while Whitbread's Costa coffee shops sharpened the taste buds with sales up sharply, mainly due to new openings. Despite indigestion in its restaurants arm, Whitbread remains a solid defensive stock. Buy.

Game Group

Game Group is riding the crest of the current wave of video games console demand, with demand for the Nintendo Wii driving its growth. The company has also received a welcome boost as its acquisition of rival Gamestation has been cleared by regulators. But Game warned this week that a higher proportion of hardware sales will reduce margins. However, this should be priced in.

Thomas Cook

In June, the package holiday groups MyTravel and Thomas Cook got together to cut costs and strengthen their market positions across Europe. Early evidence suggests the merger is going as planned. The savings are set to be better than expected, while the group has overcome tax difficulties and is on track to buy back around 266m of shares. Trading appears resilient with only the US showing weakness. Hold.

Johnston Press

If, as widely believed, newspaper advertising is a good barometer of the strength of the economy then the forecast remains chilly. Johnston Press, one of the country's leading regional newspaper publishers is witnessing an improvement, but there are doubts it is sustainable. Analysts believe advertising will, at best, increase by 2 per cent but could be flat. It still looks too early to chase this company's shares.

Raymarine

Has the credit crunch started to hit the really rich? Raymarine makes a range of electronic marine gear such as navigation equipment and rich men's toys such as fishfinders and under water cameras. As well as a strong pipeline of new products the company is mopping up a number of its distributors. The shares look set for fair weather. Buy.

Mears

Shares in Mears, which repairs council houses, have lost their way recently, which may have something to do with the market's concern over the long-term intentions of the chairman Bob Holt. He sold the bulk of his shares and handed over the reins to a new chief executive, before returning to the post last year. To underline his commitment, he has agreed an option package. The shares do not look expensive. Buy.

Southern Cross

Southern Cross Healthcare is the largest provider of care-home services for the elderly. Growth has been rapid in a sector where it is essential to have scale in order to drill down costs. Despite turmoil in credit markets, Southern bankers are giving full backing to its growth ambitions. The shares have performed strongly since floating in 2006. Southern should soon head north again. Investec has a target price of 832p.

Benfield

The headwinds which buffeted the reinsurer Benfield Group during the first half of the year have shown no signs of easing. The shares buckled this week after a warning that a weak dollar and softer prices within the reinsurance sector were blowing it off course for the full year. Scope for any significant upside in the short term appears unlikely.

FKI

As a result of a cumulative loss of contracts, FKI's Logistex unit will record sales 15 per cent lower than expected in the second half, and profits will also be hit. The warning comes only two weeks after FKI guided toward improved growth, but more importantly, it reduces the attractiveness of the Logistex division, which FKI intends to spin off or sell. Its shares look set to underperform for some time.

Serco Group

Perhaps best known for running the Docklands Light Railway and the country's nuclear warning systems, Serco, the outsourcing specialist, is one of the most successful in its sector, consistently achieving double digit sales growth. Due to profit taking, shares in Serco recently slipped back from a high of 515p at the beginning of May which means they are now within the buying range.

GKN

Engineer GKN has a thriving order book and should start to feel the benefit of a three-year cost cutting drive of its automotive operations soon. Its shares have fallen due to jumpy investors worrying about its exposure to the US market. But some believe these fears are already priced in, and the stock could now bounce. Hold for now.

Mulberry Group

Women love handbags and many are prepared to pay as much as 1,000 for designer ones like Mulberry's. Though growth has slowed recently, sales are still up 9 per cent. Mulberry has ambitions to be a global British brand along the same lines as Burberry. The signs are it has a good chance of succeeding. Buy.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

    £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

    Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

    £23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee