Costa Coffee, the Whitbread-owned retail chain, unveiled another set of blockbuster results this morning – after it revealed that its underlying profit had increased by 41.8% to £27.8m.
The company, reporting its interim management statement for the six months to 1 September, said that worldwide sales had soared by 23.3% to £383.6m in the period and that UK like-for-like sales (LFLs) had improved by 6.7%.
Costa, which recently opened its 2,000th store, said it had been boosted on the drinks front by the launch of an Ice Cold Costa range and the introduction of Costa Light – a coffee that has less caffeine and fewer calories.
However, the group gave no indication of the breakdown of its food sales.
Andy Harrison, chief executive of Whitbread – which also owns Premier Inn and several pub chains – said the group-wide performance had put the company “on track” to deliver full-year results in line with expectations. However, he also warned that trading on a month-to-month basis continued to be “variable in the face of the challenging consumer environment”.
City analyst Mark Brumby at Langton Capital described Costa’s performance as “storming”.
For Whitbread as a whole, total sales increased by 10.7% to £891.3m, up from £805.4m the year before – and group LFLs had grown by 3.3%. Whitbread delivered an interim dividend of 17.50p – a whopping 55.6% increase.