Costa coffee rolls in the beans for parent company Whitbread

A SHARP rise in sales at the Costa cafe chain helped take its parent group Whitbread to an 11 per cent profits rise.

The high street coffeehouse grew revenue by 27.5 per cent to £541.9m and upped its profits by 38 per cent to £69.7m in the year to 1 March.

The strong performance boosted results for Whitbread, owner of the Premier Inn brand and a range of restaurants, which bumped net profits up by a fifth to £266m from revenues of £1.78bn.

The leisure and hospitality group increased its full year dividend by 15.2 per cent to 51.25p.

Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison said the company is on track to meet its five year growth milestones, including doubling the size of Costa after expanding it by 18 per cent globally last year.

He added, “In Premier Inn UK we have nearly 58,000 rooms in our existing estate and committed pipeline, taking us towards our 2016 milestone of 65,000 rooms.”

The budget hotel chain, with over 590 domestic locations and a further five in Dubai and India, grew revenues 8.3 per cent to £755.9m.

Whitbread’s restaurants, which include Beefeater Grill and Brewers Fayre, saw like-for-like sales drop 0.2 per cent but revenue up slightly to £483.4m. Harrison dismissed claims that Whitbread is looking to float or sell Costa, which is set to open 350 new sites in the coming year.

Whitbread shares jumped 6.2 per cent yesterday to £19.21.