Outgoing Whitbread boss hails strong set of results

20 October 2015 by
Outgoing Whitbread boss hails strong set of results

Outgoing Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison has hailed another strong set of results as the company recorded double-digit revenue and underlying profit growth.

In the six months to 27 August 2015, the company saw revenue rise 11.3% to just over £1.4b, while underlying profit before tax was up 13.8% to £291.3m.

Profit before tax was up 5.4% to £254.9m after exceptional charges of £25.2m, which Whitbread said were primarily for onerous leases on "historically disposed businesses".

Group like-for-like sales growth stood at 3.6%, driven by Premier Inn and Costa.

Premier Inn's total sales grew 12.6% over the period and like-for-like sales were up 5%.

Meanwhile Costa's total sales rose 16.2% and UK like-for-like sales were up 4.4%.

The company also announced that Alison Brittain, currently chief executive designate, will succeed Andy Harrison as chief executive on 7 December 2015.

Speaking about Harrison, chairman Richard Baker said: "Andy has focused the company on the expansion of the successful Costa and Premier Inn brands, putting team members and customers right at the heart of Whitbread. Andy joined a good company five years ago and, when he leaves us in a few weeks, he will leave it an even better company, with excellent foundations for future profitable growth."

Harrison added: "Whitbread has once again delivered double digit revenue and underlying profit growth. Group total sales grew by 11.3% to £1.4 billion with good like-for-like sales growth of 3.6%.

"Our two leading brands have delivered strong organic growth and continue to win market share. Premier Inn, the UK's favourite hotel chain, grew its total sales by 12.6%, combining revpar growth of 4.6% with an 8.0% increase in rooms available and maintaining strong occupancy of 83.7%. Costa, the UK's favourite coffee shop chain, delivered an excellent performance, with total sales growth of 16.2% and continued strong like for like sales growth of 4.4% in our UK equity stores. Restaurants made progress in a soft market with total sales growth of 1.2% and like-for-like sales up 0.1%.

"This year we plan to invest around £700 million in driving our organic growth and further improving the quality and consistency of our customer experience. We expect to open around 5,500 net new UK rooms and around 220 net new Costa stores worldwide."

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