Whitbread Scores Olympic Success

LONDON -- Whitbread  (LSE: WTB.L  ) , the U.K.'s largest hotel and restaurant group, saw total sales increase 14.8% in its second quarter, according to a trading update released this morning.

Shares in the FTSE 100 company -- which counts the Costa chain of coffee shops and Premier Inn hotels among its brands -- were up 123 pence from the market's closing price of 2,099 pence at the time of writing, an increase of almost 6% to 2,222 pence.

Chief executive Andy Harrison said: "As expected, the Olympics provided a modest benefit, primarily through increased room rate, with occupancy slightly down on last year." He also stated that the company's brands had "outperformed in a tough economic climate," citing like-for-like sales growth of 4.2%

Much of the group's boost from the Olympic period had been priced in to Whitbread long before the Games began -- but the company continues to look for ways to expand, with a first Costa opened in Singapore during the quarter, and a further 12 stores in China, taking the total number of stores in Asia to 199.

Whitbread isn't a group that has gone unnoticed by our Foolish experts, with David O'Hara pointing out the fact that sales are up over 50% in the last five years, and Maynard Paton highlighting its near-40% increase in 2012 so far.

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Sam Robson does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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