Premier Inn and Costa openings lift Whitbread

Kasmira Jefford
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WHITBREAD said yesterday that the expansion of its Costa Coffee chain and Premier Inn hotels had continued apace, helping to boost sales and profits in the first half of the year.

The FTSE 100 group, which also owns restaurants including Beefeater and Table Table, said underlying pre-tax profits increased by 12.6 per cent in the six months to 29 August compared with the same time last year.

Premier Inn sales jumped 12.2 per cent thanks to 12 new openings and strong demand for its London hotels, with like-for-like sales up 3.3 per cent

The group also opened 153 net new Costa Coffee stores worldwide, including 86 in the UK and 30 in China, taking its total to 2,680 globally, with 1,664 of those in the UK.

The new coffee shop openings together with the cold weather in the first quarter helped drive Costa sales up 20.9 per cent, with like-for-like sales up 5.5 per cent.

“This good first half performance puts us on track to deliver this year’s business plan and we remain on the right trajectory for our 2016 and 2018 growth milestones,” chief executive Andy Harrison said.

Whitbread said in April it would increase the number of Premier Inn UK rooms by 45 per cent to 75,000 by 2018, and double Costa’s total sales to £2bn through expansion with a particular focus on China.

Total group revenues increased by 12.4 per cent to £1.1bn, with like-for-like sales up by 2.8 per cent.