Coffee shop, pub, restaurant, and hotel operator Whitbread has reported a revenue boost of 7.4% to £1,671m in the six months to 31 August 2017.
Overall pre-tax profits stood at £316m up 19.9%, while underlying profit before tax rose 6.7% to £328m.
Over the period, it also opened 2,000 Premier Inn rooms, and increased the proportion of hotel customers booking directly to 95%. However, underlying operating profit for the Costa Coffee brand was flat at £65 million.
The company is currently looking for growth in the competitive coffee shop market through ‘product innovation’ including a new breakfast menu, hot lunch menu and new coffees and cold drinks. It currently has around 2,300 Costa stores throughout the country. Shares dipped around 4% this morning on the announcement of the results.
Whitbread said the UK is currently entering the ‘third wave’ of coffee, ‘a period in which consumers’ preferences for coffee become more sophisticated and are willing to spend more per cup for higher quality and innovative drinks’. It says it is now in a prime position to capitalise on these trends.
‘I am pleased with the progress we have made in executing the plan we set out in November last year, with earnings per share up 7.4% in the half and return on capital of 15.4%,’ Alison Brittain, Whitbread chief executive officer, said.
‘Our plan is based on growing in our core UK markets; focusing on structural growth opportunities for Premier Inn in Germany, Costa in China and Costa Express; and strengthening our capabilities and efficiency to deliver these attractive opportunities.’
Last year, Imbibe investigated coffee consumption and the rise of the roasters.