Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Whitbread Sees Sales Progress as Costa Coffee, Hotels Gain

Whitbread Plc maintained its sales growth in the first quarter as Costa Coffee shops and Premier Inns budget hotels exceeded analyst estimates.

Sales rose 1.8 percent on a like-for-like basis in the period through June 2, the Dunstable, England-based company said Tuesday. Sales rose 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, hurt by a drop in hotel bookings due to terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels.

“In the context of a weak U.K. hotel and consumer market, these are a fairly solid set of numbers,” Simon Larkin, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in a note.

Whitbread shares rose 3.1 percent to 4,166 pence at 8:26 a.m. in London, the biggest advance in the U.K. FTSE 100 Index. The stock may be one of the most hurt in the leisure and hospitality industry if the U.K. votes to leave the European Union this week because it’s sensitive to spending by British companies, according to Barclays Plc analysts.

Like-for-like sales grew by 2.1 percent at Premier Inn, compared with the median analyst estimate of 1.6 percent growth. Costa Coffee’s U.K. like-for-like sales rose 2.6 percent, compared with an estimate of 1.9 percent growth and the prior quarter’s 0.5 percent gain.

“Although it is early in our new financial year and despite current market conditions, with the benefit of our cost-efficiency program we remain confident of making good progress for the full year,” Chief Executive Officer Alison Brittain said in the statement.

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