Whitbread: reports interim results for H1/2014

Dunstable / UK. (wbp) Costa Coffee, Europe´s largest coffee shop chain and part of British Whitbread PLC, produced another excellent performance in the first half, ended August 28, with underlying profits up 20.5 percent to 52.4 million GBP. Total sales increased by 16.9 percent, driven by good UK Retail and Enterprises sales growth, together with the opening of 86 net new stores worldwide. Total worldwide system sales grew by 15.5 percent to 657.3 million GBP (17.7 percent growth at constant currency).

The complete news release «Whitbread PLC results for the six months ended 28th August 2014 – strong performance with underlying profit before tax up 18.5 percent» is available on the company´s web server.

Costa Retail

Costa has delivered another strong performance, with sales up 15.6 percent and like for like sales in our equity UK Retail stores up 6.1 percent, mainly as a result of like for like transaction growth of 5.0 percent. The company is also extending the brand presence in the UK with an additional 85 net new stores opened in the first half, taking the total number of stores to 1’840, on track to achieve over 2’200 stores by 2018. Product innovation underpins our like for like growth and we recently launched a new range of coffee blends, Old Paradise Street Limited Roasts, which provides coffee lovers with a wider choice of great tasting coffee, in addition to Costa´s Mocha Italia.

Costa Enterprises

Costa Enterprises had a successful first half with system sales up 18.1 percent. Costa Express delivered a strong performance benefiting from 955 net new machines installed last year and from the 423 net new machines installed so far this year. In total we have 3’938 machines of which 286 are overseas. We plan to install a total of 800 net new machines in the full year. A strong performance was also delivered by Costa Wholesale and Corporate Franchise.

Costa EMEI

In Costa EMEI total system sales rose by 5.3 percent (15.1 percent at constant currency) during the first half. Our franchise business continues to show good growth with particularly strong performances in the Middle East and Ireland. In India our franchise partner is now refocused on specific local markets and by year end we expect the store portfolio will have re-shaped from 123 to around 85 stores. In our European equity businesses, Poland is showing some encouraging signs with the re-branding of 21 stores from Coffeeheaven to Costa and the closure of seven unprofitable stores. In France we now have six equity stores in Paris along with three franchise stores and expect to open around a further six new equity stores this year. We are encouraged by our initial store openings in France.

Costa Asia

China remains an exciting profit growth opportunity and we have a total of 335 stores, delivering mid single digit like for like sales growth. We are making good progress with the profitability of our like for like estate in China, which gives us the confidence to continue to invest in new store openings, to build the critical infrastructure and to invest in the management capabilities and resources required for future profit growth. Following a period of geographic extension into new provinces, our current focus is to build scale in the cities where we are already present and we expect to open around 40 net new stores this year.

The complete news release «Whitbread PLC results for the six months ended 28th August 2014 – strong performance with underlying profit before tax up 18.5 percent» is available on the company´s web server.

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