Costa Coffee has reported a 21.5% growth to £123.9m in UK retail system sales in its first-quarter financial results.

As part of the Whitbread Group, the UK high street coffee shop chain has increased total system sales by 24.7% to £226.7m in the 13 weeks to 31 May 2012. Costa’s UK equity stores delivered like-for-like sales (LFL) of 8.4%.

Andy Harrison, chief executive of Whitbread, said: “Costa has continued its excellent momentum delivering a 25.3% growth in total sales, with an 8.4% increase in UK LFL sales and strong international growth.

“Our consistent investment in product quality and customer experience has helped our strong brands to outperform their competitors.”

The firm opened 35 net new UK stores in the quarter, 29 in its UK retail division and six within Costa Enterprises.  

Costa Enterprises, which incorporates the firm’s self-branded Express machines, reported a 29.9% rise in system sales to £50.6m.

The company has now set up 1,714 of the Costa Express self-serve units in total, which are found at locations such as petrol forecourts, supermarkets and newsagents.

Franchise system sales were up 22.5% to £58.8m, while international system sales grew 25.8% to £52.2m.

The company has said it plans to open 350 net new stores and 1,000 Costa Express units in the full year.

Harrison added: “Whitbread has begun the new financial year well, with a 13.9% growth in total sales, driven by a 4.5% growth in LFL sales and the continuing expansion of Premier Inn and Costa. 

“We expect comparative quarterly trading to continue to be variable. April benefited substantially from a weak comparative, due to the extended Royal Wedding holiday in 2011. For the second quarter, we face tougher comparatives against a strong result last year, together with the uncertain impact of this summer’s major sporting events.”