Costa energises first-half profit for Whitbread

Kasmira Jefford
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WHITBREAD yesterday warned that growth in the second half of the year would be more subdued after the Olympics and a wet summer helped drive up first-half profits by 11 per cent.

The owner of Premier Inn and the Costa coffee chain said a strong performance across both brands had helped push revenues up by 14.2 per cent to £1bn in the six months to 31 August while underlying pre-tax profits rose 10.6 per cent to £193.4m.

Chris Rogers, finance director, said one-off factors like customers coming to stay during the Olympics helped to boost Premier Inn’s performance in the first half, with like-for-like sales at the hotel chain up 3.7 per cent in the period.

“Costa did also benefit from the poor weather across June and July and which we reckon probably boosted the Costa like-for-like figures by 1-1.5 per cent. Our restaurant business also benefited from relatively weak comparatives,” he told City A.M.

Whitbread said “the poor spring and summer weather” helped like-for- sales at Costa coffee shops in the UK jump by 6.8 per cent. In Asia it also enjoyed strong growth with China delivering 19.2 per cent rise in like-for-like sales.

Whitbread said it was on track to open 350 Costa stores worldwide this year, half of which would be in the UK.

The group, which also owns Beefeater and Brewers Fayre pub restaurant chains, raised its interim dividend by 11.4 per cent to 19.50p per share.