Whitbread's share price soars after announcing strong sales growth at Costa Coffee

Helen Cahill
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Costa's coffee shops have been performing well in the last quarter (Source: Getty)

Whitbread, the FTSE 100 hospitality company behind Costa Coffee and Premier Inn, can sleep easy after posting positive quarterly results this morning.

In early trading, the company was the biggest riser in the FTSE 100, as its share price jumped 3.59 per cent to 4, 182p.

The figures

Like-for-like sales at the leisure group were up 1.8 per cent compared to the previous year for the 13 weeks to the 2 June.

The company posted strong sales growth at Costa coffee; first quarter like-for-like sales rose by 2.6 per cent compared to 0.5 per cent growth in the last quarter.

Premier Inn's sales growth dropped slightly, down from 2.2 per cent in the previous quarter to 2.1 per cent in the most recent period.

Why it's interesting

Whitbread's current chief executive, Alison Brittain, was given the top job last year and has been steering the company through a difficult period; hotels are under pressure from sites such as Airbnb, while coffee chains face competition from artisan coffee shops.

Whitbread has been bolstering its artisan credentials by buying a 49 per cent stake in healthy food chain Pure for £6.8m.

These results will come as a relief for Brittain, who unveiled two disappointing quarterly results last year.

What Whitbread said

Chief executive Alison Brittain said:

Whitbread delivered total sales growth of eight per cent in the first quarter as we continue with a relentless focus on our customers, innovation and investing in our strong brands.

Costa has started the year well and Premier Inn continues to win share, albeit in a weaker than expected hotel market.

Industry data has continued to show a soft hotel market in the UK, particularly in London.

In short

Whitbread is looking more alert after a tough period.

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