Whitbread sees bumper sales as Costa thrives

Kasmira Jefford
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WHITBREAD, the owner of the Costa Coffee chain and Premier Inn hotels, boasted thriving sales in the second quarter of the year after winning over customers during the Olympics with competitive room rates and cups of coffee.

Shares in the FTSE 100 firm rose more than five per cent yesterday after it posted like-for-like sales up by 4.2 per cent in the 11 weeks to 16 August.

Chief executive Andy Harrison said the Olympics contributed just over one percentage point to revenue per available room at its budget Premier Inn hotel chain, which saw like-for-like sales rise 3.2 per cent.

He said prices had been capped to keep its reputation for great value.

“We could have made more money in the short term but we believe that the Premier Inn brand and its perception for great value for money is far more important,” Harrison said.

The hotel’s bumper sales contrasts with the demise of rival Travelodge, which had to appeal to creditors and landlords in a rescue deal agreed on Tuesday.

Costa Coffee’s like-for-like sales grew by 5.7 per cent while the group’s restaurant chains – which include Beefeater and Brewers Fayre – saw sales rise 4.9 per cent.

The group said trading remained variable due to the tough economic climate, but that the group’s brands continued to win market share.