Shares in Whitbread(LSE: WTB) have fallen by around 3% today despite the company's trading update (released today) stating that it's on track to deliver full-year results that are in line with expectations.
In fact, like-for-like (LFL) sales rose by 1.7% in the 11 weeks to 11 February, with total sales increasing by an impressive 7.7%. The hotel and restaurant division delivered the more impressive performance of Whitbread's two main business lines (the other being Costa Coffee), with LFL sales growth of 2.2% in the 11-week period. This compares favourably to Costa Coffee's LFL sales growth of just 0.5%, with it being hurt by a decrease in footfall as well as unseasonably warm weather.
Despite this, Whitbread remains a sound long-term buy. That's partly because its valuation has fallen recently, with its share price having declined by 16% in the last three months. It now trades on a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 1.4 and while the introduction of the living wage could lead to a margin squeeze and reduced sales, it still seems to offer an enticing risk/reward ratio.
Also reporting today was takeaway pizza company Domino's (LSE: DOM). Following another strong year of growth, it will now resume its share buyback programme and remains upbeat regarding its long-term growth prospects. Its UK performance was very impressive in 2015 and contributed to a rise in system sales of 15.8% versus financial year 2014. Underlying operating profit also rose in the double-digits, by 16.6%, and this has allowed Domino's to increase dividends per share by 18.6%.
Of course, Domino's remains a superb growth play and with a record new store opening programme in the UK (which saw 61 new stores opened in 2015), it appears to be on track to continue with its rampant top and bottom line growth. It's also making digital investment a top priority, with e-commerce sales now representing 77.7% of all delivered sales. And with 2016 having got off to a positive start, it seems likely to outperform the wider index over the medium-to-long term.
Long-term growth play?
Meanwhile, Morrisons(LSE: MRW) also appears to be a worthy purchase for the long haul. It's in the process of changing its business model as it seeks to reconnect with customers in areas such as quality and value. This has involved a degree of short-term pain as Morrisons has exited its convenience store business, but it also means that Morrisons has the potential to expand into new areas too.
For example, it's set to increase online delivery capabilities by utilising warehouse space in Ocado's new depot, while a deal with Amazon could prove to be a game-changer for the UK supermarket. And with Morrisons trading on a PEG ratio of just 1.4, it could prove to be a surprisingly effective growth play in the coming years.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of Domino's Pizza and Morrisons. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Amazon.com. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Domino's Pizza. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.