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Premier Inn will achieve its 2016 target of operating 65,000 rooms, according to parent company Whitbread.
The budget hotel brand opened 1,368 UK rooms in the six months to the end of August, taking its total to 53,039. In a statement detailing interim results, chief executive Andy Harrison said: “With a secured pipeline of over 10,500 rooms, the 2016 milestone of 65,000 rooms is in sight.”
Harrison said 4,000 of these rooms would open this year and described the hotel brand and Costa Coffee as Whitbread’s “two growth engines”, adding that Premier Inn continued to take market share. Premier Inn grew total sales 12.2 per cent year on year to £497.4m, with a particularly strong performance in London, where sales were up 18.4 per cent. Like for like sales grew 3.3 per cent and average occupancy rose 1.3 percentage points to 80.3%. The Premierinn.com website accounted for 77 per cent of bookings.
In total, the hotels and restaurants division saw underlying profit rise 7.9 per cent to £195.7m.
Earlier this year, Harrison said the next stage of the hotel brand’s growth would be to reach 75,000 rooms by 2018, including 3,000 from its new compact city centre brand Hub by Premier Inn. The first of these, in London’s St Martin’s Lane, is expected to open in the second half of next year. It will be among 4,500 new rooms in 2014/15.
Premier Inn plans to operate in 750 locations by 2016 and 830 in 2018. It is also expanding its international portfolio, which has seven properties in the Middle East and India. Another 13 are in the pipeline and there are memoranda of understanding for another 15 in the two regions and South East Asia. Some of these are management agreements as part of Premier Inn’s quest to be “asset light” in its international expansion.
Whitbread’s underlying pre-tax profit rose 12.6 per cent to £216.1m.