Whitbread, the leisure group, has reported a 3.9% increase in like-for-like sales across its continuing operations for the 39 weeks to 30 November 2006. Total sales through the company’s four core businesses, Costa Coffee, Premier Travel Inn, Pub Restaurants and David Lloyd Leisure, were up 10.1% over the period. The company said that total sales had increased by 2.1% in its Pub Restaurants division, with like—for-like sales showing positive growth during the 39 weeks. Costa experienced a 22.1% increase in total sales, on the back of a 5.9% rise in like-for-likes. Costa opened 137 new stores in the period, although it closed 21 sites. 56 of the newly-opened stores were company-owned and 81 franchised, 46 of which opened overseas. The 500th Costa opened in Summertown, Oxfordshire yesterday, while the company’s first in China is expected to launch in Shanghai by Christmas. The group said total sales in Premier Travel Inn, its budget hotel chain, were up 16.3%, with 1,640 rooms added during the period, including 14 new-build properties and nine extensions. It said it remained on course to open 2,500 rooms in this financial year. Whitbread also reported that sales in David Lloyd Leisure, its premier fitness offering, had increased by 5.8% on a stable like-for-like membership base, with new initiatives introduced this year having a positive impact on retail sales per member. Alan Parker, chief executive, said: “This has been a good quarter’s trading across the group with all four businesses generating a positive increase in sales.” There was no comment on the sale of TGI Friday’s, whose sales figures were excluded from the trading update, along with the 239 pub restaurants Whitbread sold to Mitchells & Butlers. Carlson Companies is thought to be close to agreeing the purchase of 46 TGI Friday’s from the group, which has franchised the brand from the American travel and hospitality group for the last 20 years.