MPs set for budget nights at Premier Inn as sales soar

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The Independent Online

Whitbread signalled that more MPs would be staying in its Premier Inn budget hotels, as the leisure group delivered barnstorming underlying sales across all its divisions.

Alan Parker, the Whitbread chief executive, said yesterday: "I wrote to the Prime Minister immediately after the election about our budget hotels and the need for the Government to economise, both in terms of civil servants and MPs, and he agreed with me."

Over the quarter to 3 June, total sales at Whitbread soared by 13.5 per cent and by 7.6 per cent on an underlying basis. The star performer was Premier Inn, whose like-for-like sales rose by 10.5 per cent, although it was up against poor sales in the same quarter during the recession last year.

Premier Inn was boosted by offering rooms for £29 at weekends, which continued to entice leisure customers, as well as a 21 per cent uplift in its business account revenues. Total sales at the budget hotel chain rose by 14.1 per cent.

Whitbread's Costa Coffee chain also delivered an 8.5 per cent rise in underlying sales – its 33rd consecutive quarter of growth.

However, including sales from its loyalty card scheme launched on 4 March, Costa's underlying sales were up by 6.7 per cent. Whitbread's pub restaurant division, including the Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Taybarns brands, saw like-for-like sales up 3.6 per cent in the first quarter.