The Whitbread bandwagon rolls on with the Premier Inn and Costa Coffee owner reporting forecast-busting like-for-like (LFL) sales growth in its first quarter.
Total sales in the 13 weeks to May 31st were up 13.9% on the corresponding period of 2011, with LFL sales up 4.5%. Broker Jefferies had gone for LFL sales growth for the group of 3.0%.
The Premier Inn division's LFL sales were 4.3% higher than a year earlier, with LFL revenue per available room (revPAR) up 3.0%. LFL revPAR grew by 7.3% in London and 2.2% in the regions.
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The Restaurants division's sales grew by 2.1% on a LFL basis, while together the Hotels and Restaurants operations saw LFL sales growth of 3.4%, versus a forecast of 1.5% by Credit Suisse.
Doubts that Whitbread's coffee chain could sustain its impressive growth spurt have been laid to rest for another quarter, with Costa Coffee's LFL sales up 8.4%, up from growth of 5.2% in the preceding quarter.
Costa's LFL sales growth topped forecasts of many brokers including Credit Suisse (+4.0%), Jefferies (+6.0%) and Panmure Gordon (+3.0%).
"Costa has continued its excellent momentum delivering a 25.3% growth in total sales, with an 8.4% increase in UK like for like sales and strong international growth," said Andy Harrison, Chief Executive of Whitbread.
"We expect comparative quarterly trading to continue to be variable. April benefited substantially from a weak comparative due to the extended Royal Wedding holiday in 2011. For the second quarter we face tougher comparatives against a strong result last year, together with the uncertain impact of this summer's major sporting events," Harrison added.
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