Sales at Whitbread's pubs and restaurants has improved by 6% as consumers respond well to its “revised brand formats”. Announcing its interim results for the 24 weeks to 14 August, Whitbread said it had also achieved a 4.4% increase in like-for-like sales at its pubs. Plus, the company revealed that it had seen a 9.3% growth in covers, as customers turned to its revised formats – including its Taybarns, its new all you can eat restaurants. Performance had also improved at its Costa Coffee outlets. It revealed that it had seen a 3.7% increase in LFLs and a huge jump of 23.6% in total sales at its coffee bars. Whitbread now has 1,100 Costa outlets – 769 in the UK and 331 abroad. It said that it had 108 units to its estates since March – 74 in the UK and 34 overseas – including its first in Beijing. The company – which also operates the budget hotel chain Premier Inns – said that it had achieved an overall sales growth of 14.2% compared with the same period the year before and that it was on course to open 4,000 extra rooms in 2008. Alan Parker, chief executive of Whitbread, said: “Whitbread has continued to be resilient in a period of consumer uncertainty. We believe this to be as a result both of the action taken in recent years to re-shape the group and our continuing emphasis on value for money. “Our strong balance sheet and disciplined approach to investment put us in a good position to take advantage of additional growth opportunities. We remain vigilant in these challenging economic times and are alert to whatever further action is required.” Geof Collyer of Deutsche Bank said: “Contrary to our view of a potential loss of focus from merging hotels and pubs, the division seems to be thriving under one management structure."