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Budget hotel chain Premier Inn may not reopen ‘until September’

PUBLISHED: 10:00 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:00 21 May 2020

A Premier Inn in Norwich. Pic: Archant

A Premier Inn in Norwich. Pic: Archant

Whitbread has revealed it is planning for Premier Inns, with several across Norfolk, to remain closed to the public until the autumn.

The firm, which has five Premier Inns in Norwich and others in King’s Lynn, Thetford and Yarmouth, as well as Lowestoft, Suffolk, is planning to raise £1 billion through a rights issue, as a result of its businesses being shut in the face of coronavirus. It has kept 39 Premier Inns across the UK open for NHS staff.

Meanwhile, the firm is seeing losses of around £80 million per month with an extra £100 million outflow in customer refunds.

The company, which also owns Brewers Fayre restaurants, with sites in Norwich, King’s Lynn and Yarmouth, also currently closed because of coronavirus, said it had furloughed around 27,000 staff on full pay during the crisis.

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It said its UK hotels were “ready to open when the government advises” but its internal plans assumed they would be closed, or run at low occupancy, until September.

Whitbread CEO Alison Brittain said: “Whitbread delivered a resilient financial performance in full-year 2020 in line with expectations, against a backdrop of low UK business and consumer confidence which particularly impacted the regional hotel market.

“However, the period after the year-end has been dominated by the impact of the rapidly evolving Covid-19 pandemic.”

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