MWB Group has reported strong trading across the board, defying the downturn.

Sales at Liberty were up 12% on the same time last year between mid-February and mid-April, following the launch of a 'Renaissance of Liberty' campaign fronted by Freida Pinto, a star of the film Slumdog Millionaire.

Andrew Blurton, the finance director of MWB, said: 'Both hotel chains have started 2009 very well in a tough climate, having retained occupancy well and are continuing 2008’s healthy trend.'

In 2008, the company’s pretax loss fell by 28% to £9.9m on sales 10.2% higher at £278m.

The Times