Like-for-like sales at Costa’s UK equity stores grew 0.6% in the six months to 31 August, slowing to 0.1% in the second quarter.

The growth compares to 2.3% in the first half of last year and 2% in the second quarter.

The Restaurants business meanwhile grew like-for-like sales 1.1%, compared to 0.3% in H1 last year and was up 1.6% in Q2 compared to 0.5% in 2016. Revenue for the Restaurants division was up 2%. Whitbread said like-for-like sales growth had been driven by the refurbished Beefeater brand and menu enhancements across Thyme, Beefeater and Brewers Fayre restaurants as well as increased take-up of hotel guests for breakfast.

Premier Inn – which grew by 2,000 rooms over the period - saw revenue grow 6.4% with like-for-like sales up 1.1%. Like-for-like REvPar was up 1.8% but occupancy fell from 82.6% to 81.8%. The average rate paid per room increased 2.8% to £65.26.

Group revenue for the period was up 7.4% to £1.7bn, with statutory pre-tax profits up 19.9% to £316m.

Whitbread’s chairman Richard Baker said: “In the year that Whitbread celebrates its 275th birthday, I am pleased to see another good performance as we continue to invest in the compelling long-term opportunities available to our businesses. We have maintained a strong balance sheet and continue to generate excellent cash flow, which together provides the Board with confidence to increase the interim dividend to 31.4p.”

Revenue for Costa in the UK grew 8.3% to £542m during the half-year, however underlying operating profit fell 4.6% and pre-tax profits were down 9.8%.

Over 230 new equity and franchised Costa stores have opened over the past year, with 32 closures and Whitbread said the brand remains on track to deliver 230-250 new stores in the full-year as well as 1.200 new Costa Express machines. The long-term plan remains to grow the estate to over 3,000 stores.

Whitbread said Costa had “undertaken a significant amount of strategic activity over the past 18 months”, including reshaping store network plans towards growth channels. To that end it said two-thirds of new stores in the year ahead would be in the high growth channels of drive thru stores, transport locations and retail parks.

Following the development of our new product innovation team, a new range of breakfast food was launched at Costa in the first quarter. The group said customer feedback had been strong with like for like breakfast food volume growing by 9% in the period since launch. Further work is underway to supplement this new breakfast offering. A new range of salads was also launched over the summer and new hot food in September. Whitbread said initial performance had been encouraging.

In addition to the introduction of the new food range, Costa launched new cold drinks in advance of the summer, including cold brew coffee, frostino iced drinks and a trial of nitro coffee. Whitbread said the recently formed innovation team had also created a “strong pipeline of new hot and cold drinks to launch in the year ahead”.

Whitbread also updated on its £150m efficiency saving drive, saying over £60m had been delivered over the past two years.