Whitbread sees 4.3 per cent rise in sales

<p>The company’s results have been boosted by strong demand at its Premier Inn and Costa Coffee businesses.</p>

Whitbread, the parent company of Premier Inn and Costa Coffee, has posted a 4.3 per cent rise in underlying sales for the first quarter of its financial year. The company says its positive results have been boosted by strong demand at its hotel chain, as well as ongoing growth in its coffee business.

Underlying sales at Premier Inn rose 6.3 per cent in the 13 weeks to May 28th. The chain has seen a number of new openings and this has helped increase total sales by 14.3 per cent.

In addition, Costa Coffee sales rose by 17.2 per cent. Sales at established UK stores – those open over a year – were also up five per cent compared to the same time last year.

Looking ahead

Overall, group sales saw growth of 4.3 per cent and was in-line with expectations. In April, the group increased its targets for expansion, extending the plan to 2020. The company says it wants to expand Premier Inn by more than 25,000 UK rooms, bringing its current 59,471 rooms up to 85,000. 

What's more, the group also has ambitious plans for Costa Coffee aiming to increase sales from £1.4 billion to £2.5 billion – this sharp rise will be boosted by the company's plans for overseas expansion.

New CEO

Whitbread has also announced that a new CEO will be taking charge soon. Lloyds Banking Group executive Alison Britain will join the group as CEO designate on September 28th. She will replace current CEO Andy Harrison in December – a month earlier than previously planned.

In his five-year tenure, Mr Harrison has helped Whitbread's stock market value go up from £2.5 billion to almost £10 billion. He will be retiring from full-time executive life.

Over the last year, shares in Whitbread have gone up by around 20 per cent. At 14:00 BST, the price was up 0.51 per cent to 5,105.90.

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