Whitbread reports further growth for Costa and Premier Inn

Costa owner Whitbread has reported a 6% increase in group-wide like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks t

Costa owner Whitbread has reported a 6% increase in group-wide like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to November 27. - Credit: PA

Premier Inn budget hotels and coffee shop chain Costa are showing no signs of coming off the boil after owner Whitbread revealed more buoyant sales figures today.

Costa’s expansion and success in tapping Britain’s coffee shop culture meant the division’s total sales were up 17% in the 13 weeks to November 27.

Premier Inn’s growth rate of 15.4% reflected new hotels and an improvement in occupancy to 84.8% as the regional market continues to pick up.

Across the group, which also includes restaurant brands including Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, sales were 13.2% higher than a year ago, a rise of 6% on a like-for-like basis.

Whitbread is in the process of spending around £500million in this financial year on another 4,500 Premier Inn rooms in the UK and 230 Costa stores worldwide.

The investment will keep the company on track to achieve its growth milestones, which include a total of 75,000 UK rooms by 2018. Today it has nearly 700 hotels and 56,956 rooms, an increase of more than 2,000 since the start of its financial year at the end of February.

Costa has expanded its presence in the UK with the net addition of more than 100 new outlets in the year to date, taking its total number of sites to 1,882 as it looks to achieve more than 2,200 stores by 2018.

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A further 10,000 jobs are expected to be created over the next three years. The company currently employs around 45,000 people.

Whitbread said its restaurants delivered a solid performance in the quarter, with like-for-like sales growth of 1.6% despite a slight drop in the number of covers.

Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: “The group’s reputation for dependable growth remains undiminished. The company’s brands continue to appeal to cost conscious consumers, with market share gains still being won.”