Whitbread has said it is on-track to create 15,000 new jobs by 2020, as it announced its trading performance for the six months to 27 August 2015.
The pub, hotel and restaurant operator said its financial success – which included an 11.3% total sales increase to £1,439bn – was centred around the strength of its two leading brands, Premier Inn and Costa Coffee. It plans to open 220 new Costa stores worldwide this year, and around 200 new Premier Inns by 2020.
Andy Harrison, chief executive, said: 'Whitbread has once again delivered […] good like for like sales growth of 3.6%. This drove underlying earnings per share up 14.0% and the board has increased the interim dividend by 13.1%.
'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 [revenue per available room] growth of 4.6% with an 8% 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%.'
EBITDA grew by 13.6% to £389.8m, with cash flow from operations of £374.1m, which enabled a capital expenditure of £293.3m. The company plans to invest around £700m this year.
The company also announced Alison Brittain has now joined Whitbread as chief executive designate and will succeed Andy Harrison as chief executive on 7 December.
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.'