Costa Coffee sales hit by high street woes
Whitbread has said sales at Costa Coffee - which has around 20 units in Northern Ireland - were dented in the first quarter by Britain's high street woes, adding that it is making "good progress" in preparing for the chain to be demerged.
Comparable sales at Costa fell by 2% in the UK in the period, dragging down group like-for-like figures at Whitbread, which came in 1.3% lower.
The retail sector has been hit hard by rising costs and falling consumer confidence, resulting in several high profile casualties and store closures this year.
Emma-Lou Montgomery, of Fidelity Personal Investing, said: "Another day, another warning about a lack of consumer spending. Now it seems that Brits have woken up and smelt the coffee.
"All those tips on how to stop frittering money away have hit home - and hit Whitbread's bottom line."
Whitbread shares opened flat in morning trade on the London Stock Exchange.
Total sales at Whitbread, including international, rose 3.2%, and 4.9% at Costa. Revenue at Whitbread's hotels chain, Premier Inn, was up 2.2% over the quarter.
Costa has more than 2,400 UK outlets.