The owner of the Costa Coffee and Premier Inn chains, today posted a 9% rise in pre-tax profits of £230m, but warned its hotel chain had felt the impact of the downturn in the last quarter.
The former brewer-turned hotels and restaurants business said it had made “good progress” in the year against a backdrop of “increasingly difficult economic conditions.”
Revenues rose 9.7% to £1.33bn in the year to February 26, with group like-for-like sales up 4.9%.
Budget hotel brand Premier Inn added 4,553 new rooms to its total of 573 hotels worldwide, contributing to a 9% increase in revenues of £1bn for its hotels and restaurants.
But reduced occupancy pushed group like-for-like sales into negative territory in the fourth quarter.
Nevertheless, an additional 2,000 new rooms are planned during 2009/2010.
Costa Coffee opened 296 new outlets, including 110 overseas, boosting sales by 22% to £263.8m, with plans to open a further 200 shops in the coming year.
And chief executive Alan Parker revealed that planned savings of £25m by 2011 are on track, with £7m delivered so far.
He added that the new group structure as a focused hotel and restaurant business, together with the scale and quality of its estate, means that Whitbread “is well positioned for the challenging year ahead.”