Peach Report

Costa sets the pace for Whitbread

28 February, 2012

Whitbread saw like-for-like sales in its restaurant business grow 2.2% in the 11 weeks to February 16, while Costa, its fast expanding coffee brand, grew like-for-likes 6.2% for the same period.

Whitbread, which is the UK's largest hotel and restaurant group, was also this morning reporting its trading performance for the 50 weeks up to 16 February. Those figures showed its restaurant brands, led by Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, having a tougher time, with sales essentially flat, with like-for-likes down 0.1% and total sales ahead 1.9% - making the recent sales increase a welcome boost.

Costa, which is growing both internationally as well as domestically, reported like-for-likes up 5.8% over the 50 weeks, with total sales ahead 25%. Premier Inn, Whitbread's market-leading budget hotel brand, recorded like-for-likes up 3.4% and total sales up 8.7%. Overall, the group saw total sales up 11%.

Chief executive Andy Harrison said: "Whitbread delivered good sales growth for the year in difficult economic conditions, as we continue to invest in our strong brands. We expect to report in April another full year of double digit earnings growth, in line with expectations.

"Our restaurant business benefitted from better trading over the Christmas period, albeit against snow impacted comparatives, and we remain focused on strengthening our brand propositions.
"Costa has delivered excellent results this year, openings of 359 new stores, 306 net of closures. This includes 71 new stores in China bringing our presence there to 163 stores."

Costa opened 177 new stores in the UK last year. Overall it has 1,375 Costa sites in the UK, 816 managed and 559 franchised. Internationally, it has 802 stores, including 95 in India. It continued to rebrand the Coffee Nation sites it acquired a year ago and now has 919 Costa Express units.

It also opened 11 and closed four restaurant sites, brininging its total to 386. Despite flat sales, its brands saw the number of covers served growth 3.9%.

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