Shares in hotel and restaurant operator Whitbread rose as much as 6% on Thursday after it said it has been outperforming the broader market even as revenues plummet. Whitbread WTB, + 5.00% said comparable revenue for the third quarter ending November 26 was down 56%, but investors focused on market share gains and its financial position.
Whitbread said Premier Inn’s UK sales performance was 8.9 percentage points ahead of the meetings and events market. Whitbread also said it had £ 815 million in cash on deposit, access to a £ 900 million facility, as well as up to £ 300 million available under the government’s corporate finance line. Whitbread said he expects a “gradual” relaxation of the UK and German restrictions from the spring. Whitbread said its hotel and restaurant operations team was cut by 1,500, which is less than the 6,000 cuts it had said were possible, as many accepted a reduction in hours. “Better positioned than many, but the real question is how the margin recovers after the pandemic if there has been destruction in demand, given cost leverage,” said Alex Brignall, Redburn’s leisure analyst. The FTSE 100 UKX, + 0.47% was up 0.5%, joining other European stock markets SXXP, + 0.44% in positive territory ahead of a speech by US President-elect Joe Biden outlining his spending plans. If the index closes higher, it will break a three-day losing streak.