Costa growth fuels sales rise at Whitbread

Kasmira Jefford
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THE RAPID expansion of Costa Coffee helped Whitbread deliver strong third quarter sales, the firm said yesterday, also citing improved trading across its restaurants business.

The FTSE 100 company posted a 4.3 per cent jump in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 28 November – up from a 2.8 per cent rise in the first half – while total group revenues rose 13.8 per cent.

“This performance keeps us on track to deliver full year results in line with expectations,” chief executive Anthony Habgood said.

An improving hotel market helped Premier Inn deliver a 13.7 per cent rise in sales, driven by the London market, where revenue per available room (revpar) increased by 7.4 per cent.

Habgood said returning business confidence also helped to boost trading, particularly at its regional hotels, where revpar rose by 5.9 per cent.

But he added that it was “still too early to draw any definitive conclusions” on the outlook for the regions.

“Around 60 per cent of hotel sales come from businesses and maybe, maybe we are seeing some signs of improved business confident coming through in that regional revpar. But I hesitate to draw any trends yet,” Habgood said.

Whitbread’s restaurant business, which includes Beefeater Grill, Table Table and Brewers Fayre, saw sales rise 4.4 per cent while at Costa total sales were up 20.4 per cent thanks to the roll-out of over 246 stores worldwide this year so far. It plans to open a total of 300 by the end of the year.

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