Stock of the Week: Whitbread

Like all hotel and restaurant owners, lockdown has hit Whitbread hard, but the company has just raised £1 billion from shareholders

James Gard 27 August, 2020 | 12:02PM

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Restaurant and hotel chain Whitbread (WTB) has been voted our stock of the week by Twitter users, beating nearest competitor Restaurant Group by a wide margin. Food is never far from our thoughts at Morningstar.co.uk and this week’s poll is timed to coincide with the end of the “Eat Out to Help Out Scheme”. Announced in the Budget, the 50% off food and drinks scheme has exceeded expectations, with more than 60 million discounted meals taken since the initiative launched in early August. After such success, some restaurants have said they are planning to extend the offer through September to help make up for those months of trade lost to lockdown. 

Alongside Beefeater and Brewers Fayre restaurants, budget hotel chain Premier Inn is the company’s main brand with over 800 hotels, representing more than 10% of the UK's available hotel rooms. While many hotel chains were forced to close during lockdown, 39 Premier Inns were available to book by key workers, allowing the company to test social distancing protocols and the like before the rest of the hotel estate re-opened. In contrast, many other hotels were forced to close in March and only re-opened their doors again in early July.

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James Gard  is content editor for Morningstar.co.uk

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