Whitbread Earnings Rise as Cold Weather Boosts Costa Sales

Whitbread Plc (WTB), the U.K. owner of Costa coffee stores and Premier Inn hotels, said full-year profit rose 11 percent after cold weather helped boost sales at its Costa coffee chain.

Underlying pretax profit rose to 356.5 million pounds ($552 million) in the year ended Feb. 28 from 320.1 million pounds a year earlier, Dunstable, England-based Whitbread said in a statement today. Analysts expected a profit of about 352 million pounds, the average of 12 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Revenue climbed 14 percent to 2.03 billion pounds.

“Premier Inn has maintained its positive momentum,” Chief Executive Officer Andy Harrison said in the statement. “The unseasonably cold weather has held back sales within restaurants, and benefited Costa”

Earnings at Whitbread’s hotels and restaurants rose 5.9 percent to 313.1 million pounds, while Costa’s profit climbed 29 percent to 90.1 million pounds. Whitbread plans to increase Premier Inn’s total number of rooms by 45 percent to about 75,000 by 2018, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Gower in London at pgower@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net

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