Costa Coffee
Costa Coffee sales boosted profits at WhitbreadReuters

Hospitality giant Whitbread reported an 18.5% increase in annual pre-tax profit on Tuesday, riding a wave of sales at Costa Coffee.

Pre-tax profits rose to £488.1m, Whitbread said, as its hotels and restaurants division reported an 11.1% rise in revenue.

The company also announced that chief executive Any Harrison is to leave the group in February 2016, when he will take over as chairman of furnishings group Dunelm.

Harrison, who joined Whitbread from Easyjet in 2010, said he wanted to retire from "full time executive life".

Harrison's departure was announced alongside revised growth targets, which include plans to increase sales at Costa Coffee and to increase the number of hotel rooms at its Premier Inn chain.

Whitbread wants Costa to generate £2.5bn in sales by 2020, up from £1.4bn in the 2014-15 financial year.

Meeting these targets would create 15,000 jobs in the UK, the company said.

'No plans to sell Costa'

Harrison on Tuesday rejected speculation the company could sell off Costa Coffee. The chain has grown to have almost 3,000 outlets across the world, with around 1,800 in the UK.

"We have absolutely no plans [to sell Costa]" Harrison told BBC Radio on Tuesday. "We've laid out plans to grow Costa again by 80% over the next five years."