Whitbread presents First Quarter Trading Update for 2021
Whitbread PLC has noticed continued market outperformance in the UK with a strong leisure demand post 17 May. The Group has presented its first-quarter trading update for FY22, where all percentage growth comparisons are made on a two-year basis, comparing the current year (FY22) performance for the 13 weeks to 27 May 2021 to the same period in FY20 (13 weeks to 30 May 2019). It's important to take into account that FY20 is the last financial period before the onset of the COVIS-19 crisis.
- 98% of UK hotels and restaurants now open, with Premier Inn UK's total accommodation sales performance 11.0 pp ahead of the M&E market1 in the quarter;
- Total UK accommodation sales were down 60.9% in the quarter, reflecting the Government's lockdown restrictions that were in place for most of the quarter;
- Encouraging trends post 17 May, when overnight leisure stays were permitted;
- Very strong forward booking trends in tourist locations throughout the summer, and improved forward bookings across the majority of the rest of the estate, with the exception of airport locations and central London;
- 19 of 30 operational hotels open in Germany, occupancy levels improving in a challenging but recovering market;
- Cash outflow for the quarter was in line with previous sensitivity guidance. At the end of the quarter, net debt was GBP70.6 million, benefitting from the build-up of customer deposits for the summer.
The Group expects leisure demand in coastal and other tourist locations to remain very strong throughout the summer, while the full recovery of leisure demand is dependent on the final release of lockdown, and the return of unrestricted events. Trades business demand remains resilient, albeit at prices some way below pre-COVID levels, and the company's expectation is that office-based business demand does not start to recover in earnest until the Autumn.