Feeling 'Worlds Better' About US Economy: Marriott CEO

Bell at hotel reception
Bell at hotel reception

Arne Sorenson, the incoming chief executive of Marriott International, told CNBC he feels "worlds better than we did a quarter ago" about the U.S. economy.

"When I say we feel worlds better it’s really reflecting the deep anxiety we had late in the summer and early in the fall," Sorenson said Thursday, a day after the company reported adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of 46 cents a share, a penny short of analysts' expectations reported by Thomson Financial.

The third-quarter anxiety "really hadn’t shown up in our business so much but we were all watching freefall in the markets and had a huge amount of uncertainty in the way it might impact the U.S.," he added.

"There's a lot more clarity today and that’s what makes us feel worlds better. Not so much the statistics are night and day different…but they're stronger today than they were just a few months ago."

Based on the business coming into Marriott's hotels around the world "we see a reasonably broad recovery" in the U.S., as well as some "pockets of weakness" including Washington, D.C., Sorenson said. In Europe, "we're seeing a broad slowdown creeping across the continent."

He expects Marriott's European revenue will "be up modestly a couple of points but it's a concerning environment."

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