Jump in Costa sales drives profit growth for Whitbread

Guy Bentley
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Leisure giant Whitbread has announced a boom in underlying profits before tax of 16.5 per cent to £412m for the financial year ending 26 February.

Total revenue rose by a hefty 13 per cent to £2.2bn, with like-for-like sales rising by 4.2 per cent.

Strong sales at both Premier Inn and Costa were significant drivers of the company's results.
Like-for-like sales for Premier Inn and Costa rose five and 5.7 per cent respectively.

Whitbread plans to refocus Costa's international growth in China and France, while Premier Inn will roll out its "best ever bed."

Andy Harrison, chief executive, said:

We had a strong finish to last year, with all our brands performing well, boosted by good Christmas and New Year campaigns and helpful weather comparatives.

In February, the company reached a deal with Aim-listed hotel group Action to expand its Premier Inn brand across the Middle East.

Premier Inn will undertake long-term management contracts on four new Premier Inn hotels owned by Action Hotels, that are due to open between now and 2016.

These include a Premier Inn in Dubai, Sharjah, Jeddah and Bahrain, with the hotels ranging between 100 and 250 bedrooms.