No change to our forecasts, although there is also no change to our view that the shares are pricing in an outlook for substantial group returns improvements that, Costa-aside, we do not think exists. We retain our “sell” guidance and 1,650p target, with better value elsewhere in the sector.
Performance is likely to have been boosted by negative publicity around Starbucks’ tax affairs although Costa has consistently reported this level of growth in the past 18 months. We remain cautious on current trading and hence reiterate our “hold” recommendation and 1,994p target price.
Whitbread says it is on track to deliver full year results “in line with expectations” and thus we do not expect much movement in consensus numbers today. This is a very solid update and we have increased our target price from 2,650p to 2,700p and our recommendation remains “add”.