Double-Digit Sales Growth Lifts Whitbread


LONDON -- Shares in Whitbread have risen 2.4% in early trade this morning following another positive interim management statement.

The owner of the Costa Coffee and Premier Inn chains saw total sales growth of 13.8% in the 13 weeks to May 30, 2013, with like-for-like sales increasing 3.1%. It was the coffee shop chain that outperformed, though, soaring 24.8% year on year as management pinpointed the unseasonably cold weather as a positive factor.

Elsewhere, Premier Inn saw total sales lift 12.7% against the comparative period last year, while other "hotels and restaurants" accounted for an 8.8% increase, and "restaurants" contributed a 2.6% rise.

Chief Executive Andy Harrison commented:

Premier Inn, the U.K.'s leading hotel chain, maintained its positive momentum ... against strong comparatives in the London hotel market last year. Our restaurants saw an improved performance in recent weeks after a tough start to the quarter due to the unseasonably cold weather. Costa, the U.K.'s favorite coffee shop, has continued to perform well, benefiting from the cold weather, with total sales growth of 24.8% and like for like sales growth of 8%.

We see no change to market conditions. Our plans for profitable organic growth are well established which, combined with our strong focus on returns, should create further substantial shareholder value.

Whitbread continues to grow, with 300 net new stores of Costa planned, while about 4,000 rooms and 10 joint site restaurants are in the offing for the full year, too.

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