Whitbread saw like-for-like sales at its Costa coffee shop chain increase by 4.7% in the 13 weeks to 31 May, compared to the same period last year. Total sales grew by 18.4%.

Alan Parker, Whitbread’s chief executive, said: "Costa has benefiting from its rapid expansion programme and continued like-for-like sales growth. Fifty five additional stores have been opened in this quarter including 41 in the UK."

In a preliminary statement for the financial year to 1 March, Whitbread said that Costa achieved total sales of £175.1m, up 22.4%.

Growth was driven by openings in new markets such as Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and China.

Total like-for-like sales in UK stores were up 6.6% in 2006-7 thanks to a store refurbishment programme and the introduction of more premium food and coffee products. Costa opened 199 stores in the last financial year and has a target of 2,000 stores by 2010/11.