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Premier Inn boosts Whitbread profit

Published 28/04/2015

Whitbread plans to expand its Premier Inn estate to 900 hotels by 2020
Whitbread plans to expand its Premier Inn estate to 900 hotels by 2020

Premier Inn's rapid growth story is set to continue after its owner, Whitbread, mapped out plans for as many as 900 hotels by the end of 2020.

The budget brand, which currently has 697 hotels providing almost 60,000 rooms in the UK, helped Whitbread to grow underlying profits by 18% to £488.1 million in the financial year to February 26.

Whitbread's expansion plans also include a pledge to increase sales at its Costa coffee business from this year's £1.4 billion to £2.5 billion in 2020.

The group said the achievement of its milestones for Costa and Premier Inn would create 15,000 jobs in the UK over the next five years.

Premier Inn registered sales growth of 15.3% in the last financial year, with the figure 9.1% higher when excluding the impact of new sites.

Costa's total sales growth of 17.9% included a rise in UK like-for-like sales of 6% as the company continued to benefit from Britain's coffee shop culture.

Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison, who has announced his intention to leave the company by next February, described the results as "outstanding". Mr Harrison is the former boss of easyJet and RAC and has run Whitbread since 2010.

He said: "We are on track to deliver our 2016 and 2018 growth milestones. Today we have published new growth milestones for 2020 which highlight the scale of the opportunity ahead."

In the year to February, the company sold 16.5 million Premier Inn rooms, 47.6 million restaurant meals through its Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains, and 464 million cups of Costa coffee.

Mr Harrison added: "Critical to our success are our 45,000 team members who do a great job in delivering a consistently good experience to the 25 million customers who visit Whitbread's outlets every month."

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