Whitbread confirm solid first-quarter

The prolonged cold weather proved both a hindrance and a benefit as Whitbread announced sales across all business’s improved by 3.1%.

The unimpressive UK weather suffered in 2013 has helped to drive total global figures for the Costa Coffee arm of the business. Sales increased 8% year-on-year and Whitbread is optimistic that this level of business will continue. It is this UK backbone that has enabled the company to increase its overseas exposure – by the end of the financial year the aim is for an extra 20 units to be operational in Asia with close to an 8% increase in exposure.

The Premier Inn arm of the business has also had an impressive start to the year and seen like-for-like sales rise 2.7%. This performance is especially impressive when you consider some of the extraordinary events that took place in the UK last year, when the 2012 figures were given a boost by the Olympics and the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

Shares in Whitbread have performed well over the last 12 months, and are up over 40% this year. Our clients have been net long of the hotel and restaurant group for some time,  and are currently 69% long. With a dividend yield of 1.82% to add to the capital gains it is understandable why it has maintained investors’ faith.

Whitbread client sentiment chart

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