Premier Inn owner Whitbread is returning to profit territory

Premier Inn owner Whitbread is returning to profit territory

The owner of Premier Inn is facing rising costs as its pubs and restaurants scramble to return to pre-pandemic levels, but business has been operating at a near-profit-making rate in the first half of its financial year.

"The UK value pub restaurant sector remains challenging and F&B (food and beverage) sales continue to lag pre-pandemic levels," the company announced on Tuesday.

In the United Kingdom, Premier Inn fared worse than Whitbread's restaurants.

Demand is 'robust,' despite the economic difficulties, said Whitbread.

"We delivered an outstanding trading performance in the first half of the year, with revenues and profit before tax above pre-pandemic levels," said CEO Alison Brittain.

Between inflation, which hit workers and utility companies, and investment in IT and marketing, the company expects costs to increase to over £60m this financial year.

"Despite macroeconomic uncertainties, our current trading performance is strong and our business has proven its resilience in previous downturns," said Alison Brittain, the managing director of Whitbread.