StockMarketWire.com - Premier Inn hotel chain owner Whitbread said its sales slumped 79% in the first quarter of its financial year, owing to Covid-19 lockdowns.

In the UK, revenue for the 13 weeks through 28 May dropped 80%, both on a total and a like-for-like basis. The company also has hotels in Germany.

'As expected, our first-quarter performance reflects the impact of the closure of our hotel and restaurant operations, in both the UK and Germany, at the end of March,' chief executive Alison Brittain said.

Whitbread said over 270 of its UK hotels and 24 restaurants had now reopened with the majority of the rest of the estate due to reopen throughout July.

All 19 operational hotels were now open in Germany, including 13 new hotels that were refurbished and rebranded as Premier Inn during lockdown.

Brittain said the company completion of a £1bn rights issue on 10 June would enable the company to 'maintain our competitive advantage and financial flexibility'.

'Our strong balance sheet, alongside both our leading operating model and the power of our brands, means that we are in the best possible position to take advantage of enhanced structural opportunities that we expect to become available in both the UK and Germany,' she added.

'This will mean that we are in a position of strength to continue to invest, increase market share, and over-time create significant value for shareholders.'

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