Value and Costa drive Whitbread sales
3 May, 2010
A focus on value eating and the expansion of its Costa Coffee chain have helped Whitbread to recession-busting sales and profits in its latest financial results.
Sales across Whitbread’s restaurant brands—which include Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Table Table—grew 1.3% to £466m in the year to 4th March 2010. Covers and average spend per customer rose at a similar rate. Whitbread said meal deals and other value offers had helped to keep sales moving during the economic downturn, and that its restaurants had outperformed the rest of the market. It refurbished nearly 100 restaurants during the year, at an average cost of £125,000 per site.
The Costa network meanwhile grew by a quarter in the year, with more than 300 net new outlets opened or acquired, Whitbread said. That prompted a rise in sales of 23.4% to £341m, and of 5.5% on a like-for-like basis with the new openings stripped out, in what the company called “an outstanding year for Costa”. Like for like sales have risen for 32 consecutive quarters, and the Costa chain now has 1,069 UK stores, with 130 to be added in the current financial year. Whitbread plans to nearly double its worldwide total to 3,000 by 2015 after an expansion in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Group-wide, Whitbread’s turnover rose 7.5% to £1.44bn, though sales slipped fractionally on a like-for-like basis, by 0.5%. Pre-tax profits rose 4.7% to £208m. “Whitbread performed strongly in the most challenging hotel and restaurant trading conditions for a generation,” said chief executive Alan Parker, who will leave the company in November.
For detailed Whitbread release see Whitbread outperforms its markets and grows profits
Whitbread has also decided to pause plans to roll out its Taybarns chain of all-you-can-eat family restaurants, according to the Morning Advertiser. High kit-out costs and a slip in sales after an initial surge following the opening of the seven-strong chain in 2008 have prompted the move. Whitbread will make a decision on any future expansion of Taybarns later this year. For the full story, see Taybarns rollout on hold.