Costa Coffee Keeps Boosting Whitbread
Britain's biggest hotel and coffee shop operator Whitbread said it was on track to meet full-year expectations as it posted a strong rise in third-quarter sales.
The group, which runs Premier Inn hotels, Costa Coffee and pub restaurants including Brewers Fayre, said group like-for-like sales rose 4.3% in the 13 weeks to November 28.
The figure was up from a 2.8% rise in the first six months of the year.
Total group sales grew 13.8%, driven by the continued expansion of its core Premier Inn and Costa chains.
Sales at UK Costa Coffee stores open over a year rose 4.9% in its third quarter, with total sales up 20.4%.
Like-for-like sales at its largest division, Premier Inn, rose 5.4% and 13.7% in total, while the group's restaurant business also improved, with underlying sales up 1.8% in the period.
In November, Sky News City Editor Mark Kleinman revealed the group kicked off a search for a successor to Anthony Habgood, its long-serving chairman.
The FTSE 100 leisure and hospitality group appointed headhunters to identify a new chairman to take the helm during the course of 2014.
Earlier this year Whitbread said it created 3,000 UK jobs during 2012 and revealed plans to hire 12,000 more people over the next five years.
It said it hoped to increase the number of Premier Inn hotel rooms in the UK by 45% to 75,000 by 2018, and double sales at Costa Coffee to £2bn.
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