Whitbread reports double digit growth

Strong performances from its Premier Inn and Costa Coffee brands have helped Whitbread achieve double digit growth in the first half of the year.

The UK's largest hotel operator saw profits increase 10.6 per cent in the six months to August 30th to £193.4 million before tax, up from £174.9 million in the same period last year.

Underpinning this was a 4.3 per cent rise in like-for-like sales and a 14.2 per cent increase in revenue to £1.02 billion.

And it was the company's flagship brands – Costa and Premier Inn – that drove this growth, both bucking general market trends in a difficult economic climate.

Premier Inn grew total sales by 12.9 per cent during the quarter, with like-for-like sales up 3.7 per cent.

The budget hotel chain opened a net of 1,591 new rooms in the UK, taking its total to 48,020.

And with a secured pipeline of over 11,000 additional rooms in place, the hotel chain is on track to hit a 2016 milestone of 65,000 rooms.

Meanwhile, total sales at Costa Coffee were up 25 per cent, with a 6.8 per cent rise in UK like-for-like sales and underlying profits up 29.9 per cent.

The period saw Whitbread open 141 new Costa branches, taking the total number of establishments to 2,344.

And all this growth has meant Whitbread is engaging in increasing levels of hospitality recruitment, creating 1,500 new UK jobs in the first half of the year, with another 10,000 positions expected to become available over the next three years.

"We expect continuing rapid growth in total sales on track towards our five year milestones," said the group's chief executive Andy Harrison.

"Premier Inn is benefiting from a structural shift in the UK towards strong branded hotels. Costa's growth is supported by its leading UK position in a robust category, together with exciting international opportunities.

"This growth in total sales, coupled with our clear focus on good financial returns, is creating substantial value."

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency providing hospitality employment solutions