StockMarketWire.com - Whitbread, the owner of the Premier Inn hotel chain, posted a narrower first-half loss as travel markets showed signs of recovery following an easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through September amounted to £19.3 million, compared to year-on-year losses of £724.7 million.

Revenue more than doubled to £661.6 million, up from £250.8 million year-on-year, but was still 39% below the £1.08 billion for the corresponding period two years' prior.

The company did not pay an interim dividend.

'Whitbread traded significantly ahead of the market in the UK during the first half of the year, with our regional hotels trading ahead of pre-COVID-19 levels in the last six weeks of the half,' chief executive Alison Brittain said.

'This strong performance has continued into the second half, with sustained high levels of leisure demand and resilient demand from tradespeople.'

Brittain said UK like-for-like revenue per room run rates had the potential to reach a full recovery in at some point during 2022.

'The operating environment during the summer and into autumn has been challenging largely as a result of our very high occupancy levels, market-wide supply chain issues and a tighter labour supply in the hospitality sector,' she said.

'Although we are not immune from these challenges, we are well placed to respond.'

Brittain said said Whitbread's £100 million efficiency programme was well underway.

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