Whitbread gets off to 'good start' to year with boost from Premier Inn

Whitbread said it got off to a “good start” to its financial year with trading particularly strong at Premier InnReuters

Costa coffee chain owner Whitbread said it got off to a "good start" to its financial year with trading particularly strong at Premier Inn.

The budget hotel chain posted like-for-like sales up 4.7% in the 13 weeks to 1 June compared to a year ago, with total sales jumping 9.2%. The group added it had benefited from around 9,000 rooms it had opened over the last two years.

The FTSE 100 group's businesses have been under pressure from increasing competition, particularly from people renting rooms out through online room rental platform Airbnb. Costa has had to battle against the rise of independent coffee houses.

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However, the coffee chain saw like-for-like sales edge up just 1.1% over the period, although total sales lifted 8.7% as the group installed more self-service kiosks in shops and garages.

Overall the group said like-for-like sales rose 2.9%, with total sales rising by 7.6%.

Chief executive Alison Brittain said: "We have had a good start to the year, with first quarter sales growth of 7.6%, in line with our expectations."

She added the group was "on track" to open around 4,200 new hotel rooms, between 230 and 250 Costa coffee shops and install around 1,250 Costa Express machines this year.

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