Whitbread to create 12,000 jobs

Costa coffeeWhitbread has vowed to step up expansion of its Premier Inn and Costa chains in a move set to create 12,000 jobs over the next five years.

The latest pledge by the leisure group, which also owns Beefeater and Brewers Fayre restaurants, came as it reported an 11% rise in underlying profits to £356.5 million for the year to February 28.
Having created 3,000 UK jobs over the financial year, it announced new targets which will see it grow Premier Inn by 45% to around 75,000 rooms and double coffee chain Costa's sales to around £2 billion.

Whitbread has 40,000 staff serving 22 million customers every month at more than 2,500 UK outlets. In the last year, it sold 14 million Premier Inn rooms, 46 million restaurant meals and 320 million cups of Costa coffee.

The continued strong demand ensured revenues rose by 14.2% to £2 billion, with the sales figure up by 3.7% when recent expansion is stripped out.

Chief executive Andy Harrison described the results as "excellent" and said that during the economic downturn of the last five years the company has grown its sales by 11% a year and profits by 12% a year.

His latest targets for the group are on top of the five-year milestones set two years ago for the group to grow Premier Inn to 65,000 rooms and for Costa sales of £1.3 billion.

Premier Inn opened 4,242 rooms during 2012/13, taking the total to 51,671, and Whitbread said it expects half the additional 23,000 rooms planned by 2018 will be achieved by expanding into new catchment areas.

The hotels business increased revenues by 13.1% to £853.8 million in the year, with the figure ahead by 3.1% on a like-for-like basis.

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