By Malcolm Stacey | Friday 24 June 2016
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Hello Share Thumpers. The big hotel and catering set-up Whitbread (WTB) has had an encouraging write-up in my modest column before. If anything my enthusiasm has increased since then. The first three months of this year were promising both for its hotels and for its Costas, the Italian- sounding, but not, chain of coffee houses, which seem to be springing up everywhere.
For a tea-drinking country like ours, I am constantly surprised by the numbers of people who fill Costas at all hours of the day, when presumably a lot of their customers should be working.
Uncle Tom won’t appreciate this sentiment, but I also like the fact that Whitbread has a new boss who is a woman. I have found that women managers are often more cautious with money, something we share holders applaud more than any other talent.
They can also be less prone to naughty practices, and I don’t think - though I am about to be corrected, I expect, that Tom has rarely, if ever, investigated a female manager. TW Note: Nicki Beckett, NSB Retail for starters
Any road up, Whitbread’s new big cheese, Alison Brittain, who’s highly respected in the City, wants to boost the number of rooms at Whitbread’s Premier Inns from the mid sixty thousands now to the midd eighty thousands in the next four years. And we can expect even more Costa coffee shops.
As I write, I don’t know if we are staying Europe or not, but if we are out when you read this, then I expect hotels and coffeee shops to soon have fewer customers from the continent. However, as I have argued repeatedly, whether we stay in or out will make very little difference to all our share prices in the long run.
By the way, Whitbread’s operating profit has grown year on year for the last four years at least, which is always a bumper sign. And there’s no doubting the energetic aims of Whitbread to keep on growing - both its business and its share price.
Whereas I fear the Punter’s Arms seems to be shrinking.
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