Whitbread booked a 20% rise in first-half profits after its opening of new hotel rooms helped boost revenue. Pre-tax profit rose to £316m, up from £264m, after revenue jumped 7.4%. Much of the growth in revenue came from the Premier Inn hotels business, for which the company opened more than 2,000 new rooms. Like-for-like revenue growth at the Costa coffee chain, however, slowed to 0.6%. Whitbread declared an interim dividend of 31.4p, up 5% on the previous year. "Despite the well known short-term economic uncertainty, our performance in the first half was good and we expect to meet expectations for the full year," the company said.
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