Costa sees LFLs and profit growth

It seems the nation’s thirst for coffee shows no signs of abating - as Costa revealed like-for-like sales (LFLs) growth of 5.7% this morning.

The Whitbread-own chain, unveiling its annual results for the 12 months to 27 February, said its global underlying profit had surged by 21.9% to £1.09bn.

In the UK, it said that LFL growth had been driven by 5% increase in transaction value per store.

Andy Harrison, Whitbread’s chief executive, said: “We had a strong finish to last year, with all our brands performing well, boosted by good Christmas and New Year campaigns and helpful weather comparatives. The first two months of the new financial year have started positively, with good trading again helped by relatively soft comparatives, which will become tougher as we move into the second half of this year.

On track

“We remain on track to deliver our 2016 and 2018 growth milestones for both Premier Inn [Whitbread’s hotel chain] and Costa which, combined with our clear focus on returns, will create substantial shareholder value

“In Costa we are focused on international growth in China and France and our rebranding in Poland, together with the continuing growth of Costa Express.”

The company said it planned to open a further 177 stores in the year ahead, taking it to 1,755, and that it expected to reach 2,200 by 2018.

“Investment in our people, our products and our stores are the keys to our success. Product innovation underpins our like for like growth,” it added.

“Our successful Christmas campaign along with the introduction of a new breakfast range and hot chocolate drinks helped to drive a strong performance in the year. Investment in our stores is also a key element of our strategy with some 139 equity stores refurbished in 2013/14.”

Whitbread saw its total revenue increase by 13% to £2.2bn and underlying profits improve by 16.5% to £411.8m.

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