Premier Inn demand sends Whitbread sales up

Picture: Clara Molden/PA Wire.Picture: Clara Molden/PA Wire.
Picture: Clara Molden/PA Wire.
Whitbread posted a 4.3 per cent rise in first quarter underlying group sales, helped by strong demand at its budget hotel chain Premier Inn and continued growth in its Costa Coffee business.

The company also announced that Lloyds Banking Group executive Alison Brittain would join Whitbread as CEO designate on September 28 and replace outgoing Andy Harrison as its boss in December, a month earlier than originally planned.

Mr Harrison, who has helped Whitbread’s stock market value soar from £2.5bn pounds to almost £10bn during his five year tenure, will now retire from full-time executive life in December rather than next February.

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Whitbread said underlying sales at Premier Inn rose 6.3 per cent in the 13 weeks to May 28, with new openings helping total sales rise 14.3 per cent. Total Costa Coffee sales grew 17.2 per cent with sales at UK stores open over a year up 5 per cent on a year ago.

Whitbread owns Premier InnsWhitbread owns Premier Inns
Whitbread owns Premier Inns

The overall group sales growth of 4.3 per cent was in line with expectations and compared to a rise of 6.5 per cent in its 2014-15 financial year. In April the group increased its expansion targets out to 2020, aiming to reach 85,000 Premier Inn UK rooms against 59,471 now and Costa sales of £2.5bn versus £1.4bn currently as it expands overseas.