Whitbread reported a 12.5% rise in sales for the second quarter at its flagship Premier Inn hotel chain.

The company, the largest hotel and restaurant group in the UK, said growth in its hotel sales was spread across the country but had been “strong” in London.

Whitbread said sales at its combined hotel and restaurant properties had grown in the three months to August 18 by 7.9% while its coffee outlet, Costa had seen sales rocket by 28.8% in the same period.

Figures for the six months up to August 18 showed a 10.3% rise in business at Premier Inn, a 6.3% increase at the hotels/restaurants and a 25.4% rise at Costa.

Only its restaurant business fared less well, reporting a 0.7% rise in Q2 and 0.4% for the six months to August 18.

Together the group showed a 12.9% rise in sales for Q2 and an 11% increase in the six months to August 18.

The company said that Premier Inn enjoyed a 6.6% rise to 5.7m of room nights sold in the 24 weeks to August 18, with good demand from both business and leisure customers.

Room rate was up by 3.4%, and occupancy was up by 0.7% to 79.2%. This led to increased revenue per available room (REVpar) to rise by 4.3% across the board but by 11.4% in London.

Andy Harrison, its new ceo, said the sales growth of 12.9% made it “one of the fastest growing consumer facing companies in the FTSE100.”

Harrison, a former ceo of low cost carrier easyJet, added:  “Premier Inn grew its total sales by 12.5% and its like for like sales by 7.1%, with growth across the country and a strong London market.

“We have traded well in the first 24 weeks as a whole. On a month by month basis, trading continues to be variable with the second quarter benefitting from a strong June, whilst the first quarter was held back by a poor April.

“This variability is not surprising in the continuing uncertain economic environment.”

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