Whitbread shares edge higher on strong first half results

 

Shares in Whitbread, the owner of Costa Coffe and Premier Inn, topped the FTSE 100 as the company reported strong sales in the first half.

Costa sales rose a staggering 15.9 per cent in the three months to end-May with sales from outlets open at least 12 months up by 4.5 per cent as chief executive Andy Harrison vowed to keep prices unchanged.

"We have bought all our coffee for the financial year to next March," he said. "So we have no plan to raise our prices. And we are still the best value with a Costa coffee at £2.45 against the same size in Starbucks at £2.60 and in Caffè Nero £2.70."

Harrison pointed out: "That is against 8 per cent in the same quarter a year earlier when the weather was really cold. If that’s a slowdown it’s one I’m more than happy to see."

Costa’s growth was stronger than analysts’ forecasts of 4 per cent but it was Premier Inn which bust the forecasts with 9.5 per cent like-for-like growth against market predictions of 6.8 per cent.

Harrison said: “This was driven by continuing strong growth in London and clearer signs of economic recovery in the UK regions, where revenues per room were 9.9 per cent ahead.

“Around half our Premier guests are business-to-business people and are a very good indicator of the economic recovery moving across the country.”

In the capital Whitbread has a dozen new Premier Inns and eight of its new-concept high-tech Hub by Premier Inns in the pipeline. It has acquired three new freehold sites at Farringdon, St Swithin’s Lane and Quaker Street in Shoreditch to build Hub hotels.

In the restaurants business, which includes Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, like-for-like sales rose by 4.4 per cent while covers were up by 2.6 per cent.

Whitbread shares rose 156.5p, or 3.7 per cent, to 4324.5p. They have risen by 13 per cent this year. Analysts upgraded their forecasts today and Barclays has a price target of 4750p. Today’s annual meeting was the last for outgoing chairman Anthony Habgood.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test