Tuesday 27 October 2020 7:33 am

Premier Inn owner Whitbread swings to huge loss due to hotel closures

Premier Inn owner Whitbread (LON:WTB) swung to a huge loss in the first half of the year as revenue plummeted while its hotels were closed during coronavirus lockdowns. 

The figures

In the six months ended 27 August, Whitbread posted a loss for the period of £660.5m, a drop of 483.6 per cent from £172.2m profit in the previous year.

Read more: Coronavirus: Premier Inn owner Whitbread to axe up to 6,000 jobs

Revenue dropped 76.9 per cent to £250.8m due to the closure of its hotels in the UK and Germany.

In the UK and Ireland, revenue per available room dropped from £50.19 to £10.87.

During the UK lockdown, total revenue plunged 99 per cent as all of Whitbread’s hotels closed except for 39 sites that were kept open to provide accommodation for key-workers.

Since reopening from 4 July, Whitbread said occupancy levels have steadily improved, with August visitor numbers averaging 51 per cent.

What Whitbread said

Chief executive Alison Brittain said: “Whitbread’s long-term strategy remains as relevant and compelling as ever.

“The impact of the Covid pandemic on the hotel sector will undoubtedly be significant and we are already seeing signs of distress and constraint in the competitive landscape.

“This is likely to accelerate the structural changes in the market  with supply contraction and constrained investment amongst independent and budget branded operators in both the UK and Germany. 

“We hold a uniquely advantaged position in the UK market as the largest player with the strongest brand.  

“Our financial flexibility and resilience, combined with a strong balance sheet, give us the ability and the confidence to invest with discipline and focus on strong long-term returns.

“We will be well placed to enhance our market leadership position even further in the UK, and accelerate our growth in Germany, supporting our guests and teams and driving long-term value for all our stakeholders.”

More to follow