Total like-for-like sales for the hospitality operator, which also has the Table Table and Brewers Fayre pub groups within its portfolio, were up 3.7 per cent for the same period and the firm says it is now ‘on-track to deliver full-year results in line with expectations.
“Our strong brands continue to win market share, supported by our highest ever guest satisfaction scores and rapid expansion of our network,” said Whitbread’s chief executive Andy Harrison.
“Good like for like sales growth demonstrates the consumer appeal of our brands and also enables us to reinvest in our people and facilities and to grow our estate.”
But in another, separate statement released this morning, Whitbread said it was ‘dismayed’ by the discovery of horsemeat in two of its products on 14 February- coincidentally the last day of it's 50-week trading update. The company is now planning a new system of traceability and will include clear tracking of ingredients on its menus.
The statement reads: “We are taking a wide range of actions to guarantee the quality and specification of our products and give our customers confidence in the integrity of our food. These include:
• Extending our independent batch testing of processed meats to ensure that supplies meet our demanding product specifications
• Requiring certification from suppliers for all processed meat products
• Planning a completely new system of traceability to include a clear tracking of ingredients from ‘field to fork’.
“Our customers have reacted positively to the actions that we’ve takenand our restaurants continue to trade well. We expect to have newly sourced and certified beef burgers back on our menus this week.”
Whitbread’s restaurants business was also affected by the adverse weather conditions in January,which were reflected by the suppressed like-for-like sales growth of 2.7 per cent for the last quarter.
Harrison concluded: “We see no change to market conditions, although we expect a more competitive environment. We shall continue to deliver good organic growth and are on track to achieve our 2016 growth milestones.”
Over the 50 weeks, total system sales for Costa were up by 22.4 per cent to £962m while franchise sales were up 18.5 per cent to £383.3m.
Meanwhile, Premier Inn increased its total room nights sold by 11.2 per cent to 13m, with RevPAR growing by 1.6 per cent for the year to date.
Premier Inn’s latest London opening comes in the form of a 14-storey tower building situated opposite County Hall on the South Bank. It will open next Monday (4 March).