UK: More expansion plans for Premier Inn

File photo dated 21/07/2011 of a Premier Inn in London, as the rapid expansion of the budget hotel c

File photo dated 21/07/2011 of a Premier Inn in London, as the rapid expansion of the budget hotel chain and Costa coffee is to create 10,000 jobs over the next three years, owner Whitbread said today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 28, 2012. The group, which also owns Beefeater and Brewers Fayre restaurants, has created 2,500 jobs over the past year and intends to recruit a further 10,000 staff in the UK and Ireland by early 2015. See PA story CITY Whitbread. Photo credit should read: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire EADT 29.2.12 - Credit: PA

Costa coffee keeps Whitbread on the boil

Coffee shops to budget hotel owner Whitbread has lifted profits by nearly a fifth after seeing Costa and Premier Inn go from “strength to strength”.

Costa’s expansion and success in tapping Britain’s coffee shop culture meant the division’s half-year profits rose 20.5% to £52.4 million, while a recovery in the regional hotel market helped Premier achieve record occupancy of 84%.

Across the group, which includes Beefeater and Brewers Fayre restaurants, profits rose by 18.5% to £256 million in the six months to August 23.

Whitbread is in the process of spending around £500 million this year on another 4,500 Premier Inn rooms in the UK and 230 Costa stores worldwide.

The investment will keep the company on track to achieve its growth milestones, which include a total of 75,000 UK rooms by 2018. Today it has 681 hotels - 56,019 rooms - 36% more than its nearest competitor.

Costa has expanded its presence in the UK with the net addition of 85 new stores in the first half, taking its total number of outlets to 1,840 and leaving it on track to achieve more than 2,200 stores by 2018.

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Around 1,300 new UK jobs were created by Whitbread’s brands in the half year, with a further 10,000 expected over the next three years. The company currently employs 43,000 people.

Chief executive Andy Harrison said: “Our two market leading brands, Premier Inn and Costa, go from strength to strength and continue to win market share.”

He added that the momentum has continued in the first few weeks of the second half, leaving Whitbread on track for full-year results in line with hopes.

Premier Inn delivered total sales growth of 14.7% in the half-year with like for like sales growth of 9.6% and UK occupancy at 84%.

This year it is spending around £100 million on refurbishing some 12,700 rooms, the roll-out of 21,000 new beds as well as installation of air conditioning in a further 2,700 rooms. It is also upgrading wi-fi in its hotels.

The company expects to open around 4,500 new UK rooms in this financial year followed by 5,500 new rooms in the next year.

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