The true impact of lockdown restrictions on hospitality giant Whitbread’s business was revealed this morning as it posted a full-year loss of more than £900m.
The company, which owns Premier Inn and a string of restaurant brands including Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, has seen sales plummet by more than 70% due to Covid-19.
With sites closed throughout much of last year, the firm recorded sales of just £589m in the latest 12-month period, compared to more than £2 billion the year before.
Adjusted losses of £635m compare with a profit of £358m before the pandemic.
Alison Brittain, CEO at Whitbread, conceded: “The last financial year was one of the most challenging in our 279-year history, as we operated under significant Covid restrictions which had many implications for our businesses, our customers and our people.”
She said the vaccination programme in the UK meant the business could look forward to the planned relaxation of government restrictions as we move into summer, with the first major milestone being the return of leisure guests to its hotels, and the full reopening of restaurants from 17 May.
“We expect a significant bounce in leisure demand in our tourist locations during the summer, followed by a gradual recovery in business and event-driven leisure demand,” said Ms Brittain.