Whitbread AGM Trading Statement

June 17, 2008 // Franchising.com // Whitbread PLC, the hotel and restaurant group, will today report a positive start to the year at its Annual General Meeting.


Sales for 13 weeks to 29th May 2008


% change vs. prior year
Like for like sales Total Sales
Premier Inn 10.7% 18.3%
Pub restaurants 3.6% 5.0%
Costa 6.0% 28.4%

Total 7.1% 14.6%

Alan Parker, Chief Executive, Whitbread PLC comments:

"The group has started the new financial year with strong growth in all of its businesses. Total sales have grown 14.6% and like for like sales have grown by 7.1%.

Premier Inn continues to outperform the hotel market with total sales increasing year on year by 18.3% and like for like sales up 10.7%. Revenue per available room has increased by 6.2% with 8.3% more rooms sold due to hotel expansion. The rebranding exercise is close to completion and has been well received. Sales through our Business Account card have grown by 40% year on year as corporate travellers recognise Premier Inn's value for money price and quality.

Pub Restaurants has performed well with sales growth accelerating. Total sales are up by 5.0%, like for like sales rising by 3.6%* and like for like covers up 6.9%. Food cost inflation has put pressure on gross margins and we have responded by reviewing menu prices and through operating efficiencies. To drive covers growth we have introduced a number of less expensive meal options. Our new restaurant brand Table Table, with 109 units was launched in May.

Costa has seen a strong sales performance with total sales up by 28.4% year on year benefiting from its rapid expansion programme, which has seen the total number of units increase year on year by 289 to 1,051, and like for like sales growth of 6.0%. We have recently signed new franchise agreements for Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Singapore.

The attractiveness of our brands to guests has been demonstrated by our good performance to date. We remain cautious, however, should the consumer environment become more challenging. The resilience of our businesses combined with cost actions we have taken, our investment pipeline and our strong balance sheet put us in a good position to continue the disciplined development of the Group."
_________
*1.7% excluding closure periods.

Conference call for analysts and investors

Alan Parker and Christopher Rogers will be available for a conference call at 8.00am today. To participate, dial +44 (0) 207 806 1967 and enter the passcode 6244564.

A recording of the conference call will be available for seven days. To listen, dial +44 (0) 207 806 1970 and enter the passcode 6244564#. This service will be active approximately two hours after the conference call has finished.

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