Whitbread, the owner of the Premier Inn and Costa brands, has published a Q1 update this morning. Whilst the company is keen to promote overall sales growth of 3.2%, the like-for-like reading is a rather less impressive 1.3% contraction. Strong comparatives are cited as being the driver here, but dig a little deeper and margins – especially in the hotels division – do seem to be under some notable pressure. The plan to demerge Costa continues apace however and given today’s numbers, this could well be the business to focus on.
Outsourcer Mitie group has been under investigation by the FCA over the timing of a profit warning it issued back in 2016. This morning the company has announced that the regulator was discontinuing its investigation into the affair. Not only will the absence of any punitive penalty be cause for relief amongst investors, but this news also takes a layer of uncertainty away from the business.
More downbeat news from the high street, this time with a trading update from Crawshaw, the UK’s leading value butcher. They are currently in a transition period, moving away from traditional retail outlets and moving to a factory shop format. Like for like sales fell almost 13% in the 20 weeks to June 17 and as the company says, this is reflecting a nationwide theme of lower foot fall and softer consumer sentiment.