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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 11:54 GMT
Whitbread boosted by hotel chain
Premier Travel Inn
Premier Inn is the largest part of the group
Leisure firm Whitbread says sales have slowed at its pub restaurants, but trading has been brisk at its Costa coffee shops and Premier Inn hotels.

Whitbread reported overall sales growth for the 39 weeks to 29 November of 11%, with the same-store increase of 5.8%.

Trade at Premier Inn budget hotels, with new site openings stripped out, was up 10.8%, with Costa sales up 6.4% and restaurant sales up 0.4%.

Whitbread also announced plans to open its Costa stores in Russia.

Costa Coffee cups
Whitbread operates 30% of its Costa stores overseas

The company said it had set up a joint venture with Rosinter Restaurants to open more than 200 coffee shops in the next five years, with the first flagship store set to open in Moscow early in 2008.

Whitbread operates 923 Costa stores, with 70% of them in Britain.

"We remain slightly cautious here for the Christmas shopping season [in Costa] but still expect the division to beat our forecasts," Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note.

Growth prospects

Whitbread said in a statement that "trading in Premier Inn, the largest part of the group, and at Costa, is resilient and in line with our expectations".

The company said the effect of slower growth in its Beefeater and Brewers Fayre restaurants was "being mitigated by operational improvements".

"The board remains confident of the good growth prospects for the group," Whitbread said.

In Tuesday trading in London, shares in Whitbread were down 1.26% to 14.06.

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