Whitbread sees profits increase, predicts strong annual results

Whitbread sees profits increase, predicts strong annual results

Whitbread PLC – operator of Premier Inn and Costa Coffee – reported a 3.9 per cent increase in like-for-like sales for the fourth quarter.

In the 11 weeks to February 17th, total sales also grew 12.4 per cent.

Andy Harrison, chief executive of Whitbread commented: “We anticipate that the outturn for the year will be in line with market expectations, demonstrating strong profit growth.

“While it is premature to judge the trajectory of the UK consumer economy in 2011 we shall continue to invest in growing our strong brands.”

Whitbread said it will report full year results on 28th April 2011.

Acquisitions

Separately, the company – the largest hotel and coffee shop chain in the UK - announced the acquisition of Coffee Nation.

Whitbread stated the deal - worth £59.5 million - would enable it to develop a new brand, Costa Express.

It is targeting having 3,000 self serve coffee bars across Britain over the next five years.

Coffee Nation already has 900 outlets.

Whitbread will purchase Coffee Nation from Milestone Capital and Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance and members of the existing management team.

Costa Coffee is already a leading brand with the UK, with over 1,850 stores.

Premier Inn

Whitbread, which runs nearly 600 hotels, said it anticipated its full year results would be in line with market expectations.

The group has cut room prices at Premier Inn to as little as £29 a night, to woo leisure and business travellers trading down from four and five star hotels.