Whitbread sales rise driven by Costa Coffee
Hotel and restaurant group Whitbread has reported a sharp rise in sales, thanks in large part to a strong performance at its Costa Coffee chain.
Group like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of new stores, rose by 4.8% in the 11 weeks to 18 August compared with a year earlier, while Costa sales grew by 9.7%.
Total sales at the chain were up 28.8%, pushing group sales up 12.9%.
However, restaurant trading remained "challenging", the group said.
Restaurant like-for-like sales fell by 1.6% over the period, with "customers being particularly price-sensitive", according to chief executive Andy Harrison.
Whitbread's food chains are Beefeater Grill, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Taybarns.
The group's other major brand, Premier Inn hotels, saw like-for-like sales rise by 7.1%.
But it was Costa that continued to drive sales growth. In the first half of the year, Whitbread opened 145 new Costa stores, as well as opening its 100th store in China. In total, it expects to open 300 stores worldwide this year and next.
Mr Harrison said the fact that overall trading in the first half of the year had been variable was "not surprising in the continuing uncertain economic environment".
The sales figures helped to push Whitbread shares up more than 6% in early trading, more than any other share on the FTSE 100.