Hotel and restaurant operator Whitbread says it is set for strong annual profit growth, thanks to the excellent performance of its two flagship brands, Premier Inn and Costa Coffee.
Budget hotel chain Premier Inn saw sales grow 9.6% on a like-for-like basis in the 39 weeks to 2 December, while occupancy rates for the current financial year are expected to be 77%.
Whitbread is charging ahead with extensive expansion plans across the group and said it remained on target to have 55,000 Premier Inn rooms in the UK by the end of 2013/2014.
Meanwhile Costa Coffee sales increased again, up 30% year-on-year, as like-for-like sales increased for the 35th consecutive quarter.
The company's restaurants, under the Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Taybarns brands, saw a 5.5% increase in covers, demonstrating a slow-down in the third quarter not helped by recent adverse weather conditions.
The results are the first for chief executive Andy Harrison, who took over the post from Alan Parker last month.
"The positive momentum in our business gives us confidence that, despite tougher comparatives and an uncertain outlook for consumer spending, the outturn for the full year will be in line with market expectations for strong profit growth," Harrison said.
By Kerstin Kühn
E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Caterersearch.com jobs