The group said that “challenging” market conditions in the quarter affected UK performance.
The Premier Inn parent company saw like-for-like UK accommodation fall by 2.1% in the quarter, and 3.1% in the year-to-date. Food and beverage sales fared slightly better with a 0.4% growth over the quarter.
However, UK total sales grew by 0.3% in the third quarter, “marginally improving” the year-to-date run rate.
UK and International total sales also achieved a “solid” growth of 1% in the same period.
The group said that German growth “remains firmly on target”, and it is “pleased” with the performance of hotels in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. The group will now continue to “extend the total committed pipeline” in Germany.
The group also said its strong balance sheet, efficiency programme, “resilient” business model and ongoing investment would put it in a “strong relative position” amongst an “uncertain” market. It now expects its full year results to be in line with expectations.
Alison Brittain, Whitbread chief executive, said: “Whitbread delivered a robust performance in the third quarter, growing total sales by 1%, despite challenging market conditions in the UK.
“We also continue to achieve strong results from our efficiency programme, which is helping to partially offset high industry cost inflation and means we are on track to achieve our full year expectations for FY20.”
She added: “Our performance in the quarter reflects a good F&B performance and marginally declining total accommodation sales. Weak business and leisure confidence in the regions continued, which was partially offset by the strength of the central London market, where we outperformed.
“We will be opening around 20 hotels through the course of 2020. Despite the short-term economic uncertainty, there remains significant long-term opportunities for Premier Inn in both the UK and Germany.”