Whitbread sees sales stirred up by Costa Coffee

Kasmira Jefford
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WHITBREAD yesterday reported a robust rise in sales on the back of a strong performance at its coffee shop chain Costa Coffee and hotel group Premier Inn, sending shares up 6.3 per cent.

Underlying sales rose 4.5 per cent in the 13 weeks to 31 May, boosted by a 8.4 per cent rise in like-for-like sales at Costa and a 4.3 per cent jump at Premier Inn.

Whitbread has been pursuing an aggressive expansion programme across all of its businesses, pushing total sales up by nearly 14 per cent.

“Our plans for profitable growth are well established, supported by our strong balance sheet, and we plan to open 4,200 Premier Inn rooms, eight joint site restaurants and 350 new Costa stores this financial year, creating an additional 3,500 UK jobs,” said chief executive Andy Harrison.

He warned that the group would face tougher comparatives in the second quarter together with the “uncertain” impact the impact of this summer’s Olympic Games.

Costa is already Britain’s biggest coffee shop brand with almost 1,400 shops and has a further 800 units overseas.

It has nearly 50,000 Premier Inn rooms in the UK and Ireland, as well as 389 restaurants under brands such as Beefeater and Brewers Fayre.