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Chain claims business travellers trading down
Sales at Premier Inn, the UK's largest hotel company, were almost static in the six months to August 13.
In a trading update from owners Whitbread plc, it said that sales rose in the 24 week periods by 0.2%.
But it said like for like sales were down 7.7%.
Revenue per available room (revPAR) dropped by 9.4% during the period.
But Whitbread said there was evidence that business travellers were trading down from three- and four-star hotels to its budget properties "to find better value."
In a previous trading statement in June for the 13 weeks to the end of May, Whitbread reported a 0.2% drop in sales and a 7.9% drop in like for like sales.
During that quarter, revPAR fell by 9.6%.
Alan Parker, Whitbread's ceo, said the group which also includes pubs, restaurants and coffee outlets, had "achieved a consistent performance throughout the period with total sales up by 2.4%."
He said Premier Inn had maintained its sales "in a challenging trading environment."
Mr Parker added: "Premier Inn has outperformed the hotel sector with evidence of business travellers trading down from three- and four-star hotels to find better value.
"A significant benefit for customers is Premier Inn's network of locations - the largest in the UK - and expansion continues to plan with the opening of seven hotels and 1,167 rooms so far this year."
Whitbread is due to announce its half year results on October 13.