Company winning customers from rivals

Premier Inn and Costa drive growth at Whitbread

Lenny HenryWhitbread is continuing to see growth in its Premier Inn and Costa coffee chains. It said today it will add 5,500 rooms at its Premier Inn chain and open 250 Costa stores worldwide.

In the UK construction is under way on 42 hotel sites and 19  extensions, including a number in Scotland. The company is turning former offices in York Place, Edinburgh into a hotel, and in Falkirk it is refurbishing four hotels on the back of increased tourism around the Kelpies.

Outgoing chief executive, Andy Harrison, said:  “Whitbread has begun the new financial year well, in line with expectations, with total sales growth for the first quarter of 12.5% and good like for like sales growth of 4.3%, driven by continued momentum in Premier Inn and Costa.”

He said his successor, Alison Brittain will join from Lloyds Banking Group as chief executive designate on 28 September.  She will take over on 7 December.

Premier Inn grew its total sales by 14.3%, with a combination of strong like for like sales growth of 6.3% and an 8.2% increase in rooms available. Costa saw total sales growth of 17.2% and UK retail like for like sales growth of 5% driven by winning more customers with like-for-like transaction growth of 4.4%. Costa’s international business continues to grow rapidly with a 15.1% growth in system sales (14.1% at constant currency).

The company said its brands continue to win market share and that it is on track to deliver ambitious growth milestones.

It strengthened its funding position by issuing a £450 million 3.375% bond due in 2025. This, together with its existing facilities and strong operating cash flow, will support the delivery of its 2020 milestones and reinforces the strong financial position of the group. As announced at the annual results on 28 April capital investment for this year is expected to be around £700m. 

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