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Whitbread to expand after impressive growth

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British leisure and hospitality firm Whitbread, which operates high street cafe brand Costa Coffee and budget hotel group Premier Inn, enjoyed double-digit growth over the six months to August 30th 2012.

According to the company's latest financial report, its total revenue jumped by 14.2 per cent to reach £1.01 billion, while like-for-like sales increased by 4.3 per cent.

This included a successful trading period for its restaurants, hotels and cafes, with overall profits up by 8.9 per cent to reach £173.4 million.

Chairman Anthony Habgood said: "Whitbread is continuing on its rapid profitable organic growth path in difficult economic conditions."

This success was underlined by the opening of new sites, with 15,000 UK jobs created over the six month period as the firm opened 141 new coffee shops and increased its restaurant sales by 5.3 per cent.

Some 10,000 new jobs are to be generated over the next three years as Whitbread continues to install restaurant catering equipment in new properties and examine the market for suitable sites.

Chief executive Andy Harrison praised the company's performance and expressed his hope that it could continue to expand despite the tough trading conditions prevalent in the UK.

"Premier Inn is benefitting from a structural shift in the UK towards strong branded hotels. Costa's growth is supported by its leading UK position in a robust category, together with exciting international opportunities," he explained.

Mr Harrison added that the consumer market for hotels continues to be broadly flat but nevertheless argued that no clear trend has yet to emerge, especially not in a London market that was heavily disrupted by the Olympics.

Whitbread has a long and storied history in the UK, with roots that date back to English brewer Samuel Whitbread and his development of the first purpose-built mass-production brewery in the UK in 1750.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801474409-ADNFCR

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