• Premier Travel Inn remains Whitbread’s growth star

The march of Premier Travel Inn is continuing, growing total sales by 15.2% in the 24 weeks to August 17, according to a trading update from Whitbread.

Britain’s biggest hotel brand is currently a great growth story but in the medium to long term, the challenge remains scale expansion overseas.

Whitbread’s numbers showed that PTI grew like-for-like sales by 6.9%, by far the best performing of its major divisions. The retained pub restaurants continue to struggle, showing a shrinkage of 1.3% in comparable sales. High street restaurants were barely better, with l-f-ls up just 0.7%.

The best news came from the previously troubled David Lloyd Leisure operation which showed a 2% increase in comparable sales as its new management team led by Mike Tye, the former Costa Coffee boss, got to grips with the chain.

A full update on Whitbread’s changes, including a conclusion to the TGI Friday’s review – which is expected to result in a sale – is set to come on October 24.

Ongoing consolidation in the health and fitness sector – this week Virgin bought Holmes Place and both the Cannons and Esporta chains are on the market – means that Whitbread will face increased pressure and opportunity to unload DLL.

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