Home   Bury St Edmunds   News   Article

Premier Inn owner Whitbread axes 1,500 jobs as sales plummet during the pandemic




Premier Inn owner Whitbread has axed 1,500 jobs.

The group, which also owns chains including Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, said the redundancies were far fewer than the 6,000 initially feared in a stragetic review last September - thanks to workers agreeing to reduce their hours' - and it remains 'optimistic'.

According the company's Q3 statement, Whitbread, which has Premier Inn hotels in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Newmarket and Felixstowe saw accommodation sales fall by 56 per cent in the 13 weeks to November 26.

Premier Inn, Raingate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Richard Marsham
Premier Inn, Raingate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Richard Marsham

This was followed by a 66.4 per cent fall in the five weeks to December 31, as restrictions tightened, with total UK sales down 73.4 per cent.

Alongside its hotel on Raingate Street, Bury St Edmunds, the company announced last November it was to take over the 80-bed Travelodge on Etna Road.

The deal will not be affected and no further job losses are expected.

Whitbread chief executive, Alison Brittain, said: "Since the start of the Covid crisis, we have responded quickly and robustly to the changing restrictions and have learnt to rapidly adapt our operations as required.

"This is testament to the efforts of our colleagues who continue to work tirelessly to maintain our very high operating standards, customer service and high levels of health and safety.

"This response has enabled us to continue to deliver strong market share gains in the UK, demonstrating the benefits of our strong brand, direct distribution, and our unique operating model."

She added: "We continue to protect our liquidity through the careful management of our cash position, and to take actions to ensure that we exit the crisis as a leaner, stronger and more resilient business.

"We continue to take action to ensure our cost base is reflective of the current demand environment, including completing the restructure of our hotel and restaurant operations teams that has resulted in around 1,500 colleagues leaving the business."

We expect the current travel restrictions in the UK and Germany to remain until at the very least the end of our financial year.

“With the vaccination programme under way, we look forward to the potential gradual relaxation of restrictions from the spring, business and leisure confidence returning, and our market recovering over the rest of the year.”

Read more: All the latest news from Bury St Edmunds

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk