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Whitbread set to extend sales run

Leisure group Whitbread is expected to continue its record of strong growth next week but Debenhams and Majestic Wine will be under pressure to deliver better news after recent profit warnings.

Britain's burgeoning coffee shop culture will continue to benefit Costa owner Whitbread when it reports a solid first quarter trading update on Tuesday.

Brokers at Morgan Stanley forecast that Costa will grow like-for-like sales by 3%, alongside 8.5% like-for-like growth at its Premier Inn budget hotels and a 3.5% rise at its Beefeater and Brewers Fayre pubs and restaurants. Overall growth of 5.5% will be slower than the previous quarter's 7.2%..

Costa, which has 1,755 UK stores and is a strong driver of the group, is set for a slowdown on the previous quarter's 7.3% gain but this is due to tougher comparatives from last year, when sales benefited from unusually cold weather. Brokers expect Whitbread, which has 43,000 staff to continue to benefit from the recovering UK economy.

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