Langton Capital – 2016-04-13 – Consumer trends, EasyHotel, Enterprise & other:
A Day in the Life:
So Windows 10 is now operating on my computer.
Of course there wasn’t a Windows 9 (genuinely, I believe, because somebody in MS HQ thought it was funny to insist that Seven Ate Nine) but, so far, the new system hasn’t caused too many problems.
Sure, it’s banished all of my Google settings to the outer wilderness & has replaced various programmes with their Microsoft equivalents (wasn’t there an anti-trust case regarding this sort of stuff in the 90s?) and it’s shut down my whole system with a ‘sorry we’ve had to close you down plus a frowny face’ message but, apart from that, it’s not too bad.
Which is a relief because when a family member installed it by accident six months ago or so, it caused all sorts of issues not least that the display jerked around such that you couldn’t see what on earth you were doing and another installation led to a data crash and no end of lost, or at least well-hidden, information.
Anyway, it just serves to show how dependent we are these days on our devices, mobile and otherwise. On to the news:
PUB, RESTAURANT & DRINKS PRODUCER NEWS:
• Enterprise Inns has announced that it yesterday bought back 121k shares at between 100.5p and 102.5p per share
• Barclaycard data backs up other recent data in showing consumer spending growth slowed to its lowest level in two years of just 1.6% in March. The findings from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all credit and debit card transactions in the UK, show consumers scaled back spending in nearly all categories during what was the third month in a row of falling spending. Overall growth for the first three months of the year came in at 2.8% — the worst performance in seven quarters.
• Marston’s is to open its first new-build Generous George site, called The Llanwern Bull, in Newport, South Wales on 11 July, writes MCA. The site will be Marston’s 15th Generous George, after the conversion of The Unicorn in Warwick, and is the first of four new-builds.
• Starbucks has announced it will open a 20,000 sq ft ‘Roastery’ superstore in New York’s trendy Meatpacking District. The new site will showcase the craft of roasting and brewing coffee once it opens in 2018.
• AB InBev has formally informed EU antitrust regulators of its plan to sell SABMiller’s premium European as it looks to gain approval for its $100bn+ takeover. The world’s top brewer has agreed to sell Peroni, grolsch, and Meantime to Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings in order to fast-track approval for the merger.
• Many leading UK retailers’ websites are in need of ‘serious attention’ if they are to be deemed safe from cyber-attacks, according to new research. Experts at UpGuard singled out Matalan for criticism, while Waitrose, Tesco, Debenhams, and Topshop also ranked poorly. The cyber security firm recommends that consumers ‘reconsider interacting’ with the sites.
• EasyHotel updates on trading, says H1 was ‘slightly above the Board’s expectations’ with the performance mainly driven by owned hotels.
• EasyHotel says LfL revenue +8.0% for H1 to end-March. Has been ‘benefiting from the new revenue strategy announced in Dec 15’
• EasyHotel. Says during H1 owned hotels outperformed their competitive set ‘particularly in Q2’. Adds this is ‘encouraging in the lead up to traditionally the busiest trading months of the year for hoteliers.’ Costs were in line with expectations.
• EasyHotel. Says it has added 6 new projects and has ‘significantly extended its owned and franchised development pipeline’. Will open in Liverpool by January 2017 and in Manchester by April 2017. It says ‘the acquisitions in Birmingham and Ipswich announced in January 2016 remain subject to planning permission, with the hotels anticipated to open by March and June 2017 respectively. The acquisition of land in L’Hospitalet de LLobregat, Barcelona, announced in January 2016, is progressing as anticipated. This, our first owned hotel outside the UK, is expected to open, subject to planning consent, in early 2018 as previously announced.’
• EasyHotel’s CEO Guy Parsons says ‘we are very pleased to report that during the first half of the financial year our operational initiatives and strategic focus have had a positive impact, earlier than originally anticipated, on our trading performance and expansion of our development pipeline. There remains further scope to improve our revenue. With the right management team in place we can now expand our owned and franchised network in line with our exciting business plan.’
• The number of overnight trips in Britain rose by 9% last year to 124 million people with £19.6bn spent, according to a Great Britain Tourism survey. Trips to all English regions increased, including the West Midlands (22%), Yorkshire (20%) and the South West (14%). VisitEngland and VisitBritain’s chief executive, Sally Balcombe, said: ‘These hugely encouraging results demonstrate the growing importance of tourism to the UK economy as we continue our drive to get visitors out exploring more of our regions, ensuring that economic growth from tourism is felt across the whole country.’
• Hostelworld completes placing of 23.5m shares for H&F and the Duffy Family at 260p per share
• STR data shows an increase in supply and decrease in demand for hotels in London in March, with negative performances across industry KPIs. Occupancy fell 3.1% to 76.1% and average daily rate decreased by 1.8% to £131.04, meaning revenue per available room slid by 4.8% to £99.78. Supply in the capital increased 2.5% as demand slipped 0.6%.
• Award-winning boutique serviced apartment operator Staying Cool has appointed Robin Sheppard as chairman and confirmed a tie up with Bespoke Hotels. Sheppard said of the development: ‘This partnership is a first for the UK. At Bespoke we see the rapid growth of the serviced apartment sector as a significant market opportunity rather than a threat to established hotels. With its focus on design, innovation and customer service, Staying Cool is one of the most exciting apartment brands we could hope to partner with. We believe they offer something unique and rather special in the serviced apartment space. They boast rave customer reviews, while their award-winning track record speaks for itself.’
• The number of domestic passengers using Heathrow fell by nearly 14% in March as the airport attracted more long-haul business. Overall passenger numbers grew by 2.5% to a record 6.1 million as fast-growing emerging markets continued to contribute, with trips to China, Mexico, and India up 12%, 6%, and 4% respectively.
• Passenger numbers at Gatwick rose to a record 3.1 million in March, up 5.8% year-on-year, as long-haul again helped drive traffic. The airport can now boast three years of consecutive monthly growth.
• Luxury hotel chain Yotel is to open an in-terminal hotel at Charles de Gaulle airport on 1 July, which will allow travellers to book by the hour. The hotel will be situated in the transit area of Terminal 2E, home to Air France and Skyteam.
• Chinese conglomerate HNA Group has made an offer to buy Gategroup, the Swiss-based airline catering firm, for 1.4bn Swiss francs (£1bn). The 53-franc-a-share transaction is expected to be completed in July if the deal is approved by regulators.
• British artists accounted for five of the top 10 selling albums last year, as the global music industry generated $15bn and digital overtook physical playback methods. The British artists are Adele, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Coldplay, and Sam Smith.
FINANCE & MARKETS:
• UK inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index rose to 0.5% in March thanks to a sharp rise in air fares as a result of Easter timing differences.
• The rate of growth in UK house prices slowed in the year to February from 7.9% to 7.6%, according to the Office for National Statistics. The average cost of a house or flat is now £283,658, with growth weakest in Scotland and strongest in the East and South West of England.
• UK Brexit could damage fragile global economy warns IMF. Lists 23 June vote as a key risk alongside China slowdown. It says ‘the planned June referendum … has already created uncertainty for investors.’ The IMF adds ‘a Brexit could do severe regional and global damage by disrupting established trading relationships.
• IMF cuts global growth estimate to 3.2% this year from an earlier stab at 3.4% in January. Going for 3.5% in 2017. The body says ‘in brief, lower growth means less room for error.’
• China exports rose by 18.7% in yuan terms in march, well ahead of estimates. Imports fell by 1.7%. Although China never came close to slipping into recession (and one set of data does not prove a trend) the numbers suggests that an economic recovery may be underway. China is expecting to have grown at an annual rate of 6.8% in the 3mths to end-March.
• World markets: UK up yesterday & Euro-markets also higher. US up later in the day and Far East mostly up in Weds trade
• Oil price up again. Trading at around $44.40 per barrel. Just edging back a bit in Wednesday trading.