Costa and Premier Inn sales growth fuels strong Q1 results for Whitbread

By Tom Wadlow
A resurgent hotel market and surge in consumers buying drive-thru coffee have helped Whitbread’s Premier Inn and Costa post positive Q1 results. Tota...

A resurgent hotel market and surge in consumers buying drive-thru coffee have helped Whitbread’s Premier Inn and Costa post positive Q1 results.

Total group sales rose by 7.6 percent, with Premier Inn continuing to win overall market share with strong sales growth of 9.2 percent. The hotel chain added 9,000 rooms over the past two years, which is paying dividends after occupancy rates also climbed in Q1 versus the same period last year – it now sits at just over 79 percent.  

Costa sales grew 8.7 percent, the company saying it plans to continue expanding its range of cold drinks, which includes rolling out ‘Cold Brew’ in over 200 of our stores as well as releasing its latest summer Frostino. Costa Express continued its expansion with 300 net installations during the quarter and in May the firm officially opened its new Roastery, granting it capacity to grow over the next 20 years.

Whitbread's Chief Executive Alison Brittain said: "We have had a good start to the year, with first quarter sales growth of 7.6 percent, in line with our expectations. Our continued drive to grow and innovate in our core UK businesses, focus on our strengths internationally and build capabilities to support long-term growth, combined with our ongoing cost efficiency programme, gives us confidence that we will make further good progress this year.”

Away from the UK, signs also look promising, especially in Germany and China.

Whitbread said in a company statement: “Internationally, in Germany our Premier Inn hotel in Frankfurt is performing well and we continue to develop our current committed pipeline of five hotels.

“Meanwhile, in Costa, we are seeing good progress in China with positive like for like sales growth. We aim to accelerate the development of our international businesses in these attractive markets and continue to look for opportunities to grow more.

“We have a clear plan to deliver growth in our existing estate and remain on track to open 4,200 hotel rooms, 230-250 Costa coffee shops and install 1,250 Costa Express machines.”

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