Whitbread could halve job cuts

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Redundancies reined in? 'Whitbread’s long-term strategy remains as relevant and compelling as ever,' Whitbread CEO Alison Brittain said of the company’s latest financial results
Redundancies reined in? 'Whitbread’s long-term strategy remains as relevant and compelling as ever,' Whitbread CEO Alison Brittain said of the company’s latest financial results

Related tags: Whitbread, Finance, Pubco + head office, Jobs

The operator behind Brewers Fayre, Beefeater and Premier Inn may significantly reduce redundancy plans following the extension of the furlough scheme and vaccine breakthrough.

As previously reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA)​, Whitbread announced that as many as 6,000 members of staff​ could face redundancy following a collapse in sales amid the coronavirus crisis.

The business currently employs in the region of 35,000 workers across the UK meaning more than one-in-six were initially forecast lose their jobs alongside 15% to 20% of jobs at its head office – a further 150 positions. 

However, according to reports in The Times​, Whitbread is now expected to tell staff that a “significant number” of the job cuts will no longer be necessary.

Explaining the revised number of redundancies is not confirmed, a spokesman for the company told The Times​: “We are still working through the detail and potential implications.” 

On top of running 800 Premier Inns across the UK – boasting 76,000 rooms – Whitbread also operates more than 400 venues under its Brewers Fayre, Beefeater, Cookhouse & Pub and Table Table brands. 

The former brewer, which in 1968 reached a deal to brew Heineken under licence, offloaded its breweries and pubs in 2001 to focus on its estate of hotels and restaurants. 

The decision to rein in its redundancy plans is believed to have stemmed from the extension of the furlough scheme, hopes that a vaccine could soon become available and staff switching to reduced hours or accepting redeployment. 

As relevant and compelling as ever 

This news comes after Whitbread revealed a swing from £219.9m in pre-tax profit​ to a statutory loss of £724.7m in its interim first half results for the 2021 financial year. 

As reported by The MA​, Whitbread also revealed overall revenue during its H1 trading period was down 76.9% year-on-year to £280.5m, resulting in an adjusted loss before tax of £367.4m.

Additionally, the operator announced that adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and restructuring or rent costs (EBITDAR) dropped from £426.7m to a loss of £153.7m.

At the end of H1, Whitbread had access to £936.2m of cash and cash equivalents, an undrawn Revolving Credit Facility (RCF) of £950m, and up to £600m available under the Government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) scheme.

The operator’s latest figures come after the PLC revealed sales during the first half of its financial year to 27 August slipped by almost 80% due to the forced closure of most of its sites. 

Whitbread also reported in August that its total UK sales had improved to just 38.5% down year-on-year with its accommodation division said to be performing ahead of the market and its restaurants "boosted by the positive impact of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme".

“Whitbread’s long-term strategy remains as relevant and compelling as ever,” Whitbread CEO Alison Brittain said of the company’s latest results. 

Related topics: MA500 Business Club

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