Strong growth at its Costa coffee chain has helped drive underlying annual pre-tax profits at owner Whitbread up 12 per cent to £546.3 million.
Operating profit at Costa rose 15.8 per cent to £153.5m on turnover of £1.6 billion, while sales across the parent, which also owns budget hotel chain Premier Inn, rose 12 per cent to £2.9bn.
Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain said yesterday that she was now targeting £2.5bn of sales at Costa by 2020 and ramping up expansion at Premier Inn.
Premier Inn saw like-for-like sales growth of 4.2 per cent in the 53 weeks to 3 March, with Whitbread’s total dividend lifting 10 per cent to 90.35p from 82.15p in the previous 12 months via a final payment of 61.85p.
Brittain said both the coffee and hotel chains enjoyed “attractive market growth opportunities”. She said that Premier was also targeting 85,000 UK hotel rooms by 2020, and that continued overseas expansion was a priority.