Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 13:42 UK

More Costa coffee shops planned

A Costa coffee store in London

Whitbread plans to double the number of Costa coffee shops and increase the number of Premier Inn rooms by 50%.

The company announced the plans as it unveiled better-than-expected pre-tax and one-off items profits of 210.3m for the year to the end of February.

Last year, Whitbread sold its David Lloyd leisure centres and the TGI Friday restaurant chain to focus on the Costa and Premier Inns businesses.

There are currently 992 Costa coffee outlets worldwide.

Whitbread plans to increase that number to 2,000 in the next five years, with half of the new shops in Britain.

It also plans a 50% increase in the number of Premier Inn hotel rooms to 55,000.

Much of the money raised from the disposals of the David Lloyd and TGI Friday chains, together with the sale of its 50% stake in Pizza Hut, has been used to reduce debt.

Whitbread chief executive Alan Parker said the company had made "excellent" progress in the past year.

"Whitbread is now a more resilient business with strong growth prospects in the UK and overseas," he said.

"In anticipation of a more challenging environment, action has been taken to simplify processes and reduce costs."




SEE ALSO
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