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Whitbread warns of slowdown after Costa sale


Premier Inn owner Whitbread has warned of a slowdown in holidaymaker demand for hotel rooms due to Brexit uncertainty, posting a near 40% drop in annual profits.

Like-for-like accommodation sales dropped by 0.6% in the year to 28 February due to a decline in demand.

Last year the company sold Costa Coffee to Coca Cola and Whitbread said their pre-tax profits dropped 39% to £260m with the deal stripped out.

The effects of the deal include statutory pre-tax profits hiked up to £3.7bn compared to £436m the previous year.

On the back of recent cost cutting, underlying pre-tax profits on operations rose by 1.2% to £438m.

Alison Brittain, Whitbread chief executive said, “In the fourth quarter, we saw a decline in business and leisure confidence, leading to weaker domestic hotel demand.

“This weakness has increased into March and April particularly in the regional business market, coinciding with an acute period of political and economic uncertainty in the UK.

“At this stage in the new financial year it is too early to know how business confidence and its impact on the market will evolve.”

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