Whitbread plc Surges On Strong First Quarter


The share price of Whitbread (LSE: WTB) — the company behind brands such as Premier Inn, Costa Coffee and the apostrophe-deprived Brewers Fayre — is currently up almost 4% following publication of an interim management statement that covers the first quarter, to 29 May 2014.

Whitbread reported total sales for the first quarter up 12.7% over the same period last year, with like-for-like sales up 6.9%. The company said that Premier Inns continued to win market share, recording an increase in total sales of 14.2%, and in like-for-like of 9.5%. The UK regions showed stronger total sales growth, up 15.3% in the quarter, compared to 10.4% in London. Whitbread also said that its restaurants business “delivered a good performance”, benefiting from better weather, seeing gains of 11% total and 4.4% like-for-like.

Costa increased its worldwide sales by 14.6%, to £323m, with system sales within the franchise growing by 13.1%, to £126.5m. Within those figures, UK retail system sales were up 15.2%, at £174.4m, with system sales at Costa Enterprises — which includes Costa’s corporate franchise stores, its “Proud To Serve Costa” business and the Costa Express convenience vending brand — up 18.5%, to £79.5m. International system sales were up 9.1%, with 24% growth in Costa Asia buoying up a rather more meagre 4.2% growth in the Europe, Middle East and India (EMEI) region.

Commenting on the statement, CEO Andy Harrison said:

Whitbread is well positioned for another good year with our strong brands continuing to win market share, reinforced by ambitious organic network expansion. We currently have 43 new Premier Inn hotels under construction in the UK and expect to open around 4,500 new rooms this year, together with five joint site restaurants. Costa will open around 300 net new stores this year.

At 4,325p, Whitbread’s share price is up 15% so far this year, compared to an essentially flat performance from the FTSE 100 in 2014 (it’s up just 0.24%). And over five years, Whitbread has left the index trailing, with an increase of 385%, versus the 53% recorded by the FTSE 100.

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Jon doesn't own shares in Whitbread.