Whitbread-owned coffee brand Costa has posted UK like-for-like sales growth of 4.4% for the six months to August 27 2015.

Costa was ahead of the group’s like-for-like average of 3.6% but was slightly behind Premier Inn’s 5%. Costa’s underlying operating profit, excluding amortisation of acquired intangibles, exceptional items and pension finance cost, rose by 28.4% from £52.4m to £67.3m.

The figures are a reflection of outgoing chief executive Andy Harrison’s focus on the Costa and Premier Inn brands, with Costa UK opening a net total of 68 stores in the half taking the UK total to 1,999.

Harrison said: “Whitbread has once again delivered double digit revenue and underlying profit growth. Group total sales grew by 11.3% to £1.4bn with good like-for-like sales growth of 3.6%.”

He added: “This year we plan to invest around £700 million in driving our organic growth and further improving the quality and consistency of our customer experience. We expect to open around 5,500 net new UK rooms and around 220 net new Costa stores worldwide.”

Harrison will be replaced by Alison Brittain on 7 December, 2015.