De Vere offsets rise in bills

Hotels-to-leisure clubs chain De Vere today said it was managing to offset hikes in energy bills and business rates through higher sales.

In a statement before its annual meeting, De Vere, which runs 19 hotels around the UK as well as Greens health and fitness clubs and Village leisure clubs, said like-for-like sales were up 3.3% in the 18 weeks to January 29.

It added that trading had been “challenging” in its health and fitness businesses.

In November De Vere said external costs meant it needed sales growth approaching 3% to keep like-for-like profits in line with last year.

Late in 2005 it rejected a takeover approach from an unnamed group – saying the offer failed to reflect the value and prospects of the company.

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