Premier Inn and Costa Coffee demand sends Whitbread sales up
LONDON - Reuters
A cup is filled with coffee inside a Costa Coffee shop in Mumbai, India in this August 28, 2012 file photo. Reuters PhotoBritain's Whitbread posted a 4.3 percent rise in first quarter underlying group sales on June 16, 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 Sept. 28 and replace outgoing Andy Harrison as its boss in December, a month earlier than originally planned.
Harrison, who has helped Whitbread's stock market value soar from 2.5 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) to almost 10 billion during his five year tenure, will now retire from full-time executive life in December rather than next February.
Whitbread said underlying sales at Premier Inn rose 6.3 percent in the 13 weeks to May 28, with new openings helping total sales rise 14.3 percent. Total Costa Coffee sales grew 17.2 percent with sales at UK stores open over a year up 5 percent on a year ago.
The overall group sales growth of 4.3 percent was in line with expectations and compared to a rise of 6.5 percent 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 2.5 billion pounds versus 1.4 billion currently as it expands overseas.
Shares in Whitbread, up 20 percent over the last year, were down 1 percent at 4,993 pence at 0702 GMT.