Coffee chain Costa leads first quarter growth at Whitbread as Premier Inn struggles

Sales growth has rebounded at coffee chain Costa.
Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Sales growth has rebounded at coffee chain Costa. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Whitbread today reported a rebound in sales growth at Costa Coffee but said conditions remained difficult for its Premier Inn hotels and its restaurant brands.

The group cheered a “good start” to its financial year for the coffee chain as it posted a 2.6% rise in like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to June 2, following a difficult previous quarter.

It said Premier Inn like-for-like sales lifted by 2.1% in a “weaker-than-expected hotel market”, while comparable sales edged 0.2% higher across its restaurant brands Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Taybarns.

Like-for-like sales across the group rose 1.8%, while total sales were 8% higher.

Alison Brittain, chief executive of Whitbread, said: “Costa has started the year well and Premier Inn continues to win share, albeit in a weaker-than-expected hotel market.

“Although it is early in our new financial year, and despite current market conditions, with the benefit of our cost-efficiency programme we remain confident of making good progress for the full year.”

Costa’s performance comes after sales growth slowed sharply to 0.5% at the end of its previous financial year and helped offset a tougher hotels market.

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Whitbread revealed a 1.2% fall in Premier Inn’s key revenue per available room measure – compared with a 1.2% rise per available room in the wider hotel market – with its occupancy rate 1.5 percentage points lower at 79.1%.