Whitbread: ‘No compelling’ case to sell Costa Coffee

Whitbread, an operator of hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops, stood by its expansion plans in the UK and international markets, after posting a near 12% rise in full-year profit.

Shares in the Ftse-100 company, which owns Premier Inn hotels and Costa Coffee chains, rose about 1.5% in London yesterday.

Alison Brittain, who took over from previous chief executive Andy Harrison in January, voiced her support for Whitbread’s previous 2020 milestones of about 85,000 Premier Inn UK rooms and about £2.5 billion (€3.2bn) systems sales for Costa.

To further capitalise on demand, Whitbread last year increased its expansion targets for both businesses, with greater exposure in London, a key focus for Premier Inn and overseas sales at Costa.

Ms Brittain rejected speculations the company could sell off Costa Coffee. The chain has over 3,000 outlets across the world, with around 2,000 in the UK.

“We are all very clear that Whitbread has been a great owner of Costa and given that track record and our future plans, there’s no compelling reason to change Costa’s ownership structure at this time,” Ms Brittain said.

Whitbread said total sales at Premier Inn rose 12.9%, with group sales rising 12%.

Total Costa Coffee sales grew 15.9% with a 2.9% increase in UK. The CEO believes the coffee market hasn’t reached its peak.


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