Whitbread boosted by Premier Inn and Costa

Hotel and coffee shop operator Whitbread this morning posted a 10.6 per cent increase in first-half profit, boosted by its Premier Inn and Costa Coffee brands.

Pre-tax profit for the leisure group came in at £193.4m over the six months to 30 August, up from £174.9m in the same period last year.

Total sales at budget hotel chain Premier Inn rose 12.9 per cent, with like for like sales up 3.7 per cent. Over the half year, it opened more than 1,500 new UK rooms, and is on track to reach its 2016 target of 65,000 rooms across the country.

Strong performance from the Costa brand also flattered profits. Total sales at the coffee chain were up 25 per cent, with underlying profits up 29.9 per cent.

Chief executive Andy Harrison said this morning: “We expect continuing rapid growth in total sales on track towards our five year milestones.

“Premier Inn is benefitting from a structural shift in the UK towards strong branded hotels. Costa's growth is supported by its leading UK position in a robust category, together with exciting international opportunities. This growth in total sales, coupled with our clear focus on good financial returns, is creating substantial value.”