Health clubs help keep Whitbread fit

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Solid performances from David Lloyd health clubs and budget hotel chain Travel Inn continued to offset weaker performances from the upmarket Marriott hotels chain and Brewers Fayre restaurants for Whitbread, the leisure group said yesterday.

Sales at the David Lloyd chain were up 5.8 per cent in the 50-week period with Travel Inn up 3.6 per cent and the Beefeater chain up 4 per cent.

"David Lloyd Leisure's like-for-like sales growth demonstrates that it is the leading performer among sports, health and fitness club brands," Whitbread said, noting that its Travel Inn business remained on track to hit its expansion target of more than 1,500 rooms in the current year.

However, Whitbread reported a slowdown in the rate of sales growth at Brewers Fayre and at the Marriott chain, which has yet to move into positive territory. In the 50-week period, the Brewers Fayre business recorded sales growth of 1.5 per cent, while sales at Marriott were down 0.2 per cent - a slight improvement from its performance by the 33rd week when sales were down 0.5 per cent.

Whitbread said: "Brewers Fayre/Brewsters has had a slower year of growth but is up against a strong comparative period. While like-for-like sales are disappointing, this remains one of Britain's best-returning pub restaurant businesses."