Costa Coffee
Whitbread plans to open 250 new Costa Coffee shops worldwide this financial year Reuters

Whitbread has posted a 5.4% increase in interim profits on the back of strong growth in the Costa Coffee and Premier Inn hotel chains.

Underlying profit before tax came in at £307m ($375m) for the six months to 1 September, up from £291.3m in the same period a year ago.

Total sales increased 1.9% on a like-for-like basis to £1.56bn. Costa sales were up 2.3% and Premier Inn sales grew 2.4%.

Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain said in a statement that the company remained on track to open around 3,700 new Premier Inn rooms in the UK by the end of the financial year.

The firm also plans to open 250 new Costa Coffee shops worldwide.

"This is another good set of results from Whitbread and we continue to deliver strong growth," Brittain said.

"Whilst it is early in the second half and there is uncertainty in the UK's economic outlook, we expect to deliver in line with full-year expectations."

Richard Baker, chairman of Whitbread, added: "Whitbread has delivered another good set of results with underlying profit before tax up 5.4%.

"We are continuing to invest in our brands to maintain our leadership positions, whilst our strong balance sheet and cash flow generation has enabled us to increase the dividend by 4.9% to 29.90p."