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

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Administrator

    £13000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Dialler Administrator

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Main purpose: Under the directi...

    Ashdown Group: Contracts Manager - City of London

    £35000 - £37000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Contracts Manager - City...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen