Britain's biggest hotel and coffee shop operator Whitbread today reported an 11% rise in first half profits.

It said it was boosted by strong sales growth at its key Premier Inn and Costa Coffee brands.

Whitbread also operates the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre pub restaurant chains and serves over 21 million customers every month.

It said underlying pretax profit grew 10.6% to £193.4m sterling in the six months to August 30. This compared to a consensus forecast of £192.4m.

UK sales at Premier Inn hotels open more than a year were up 3.7% and sales at Costa Coffee shops open more than a year rose 6.8%.

"Our consumer market context continues to be broadly flat. Against this background we expect to continue to outperform our competitors and like for like sales growth to be more moderate than the high levels achieved in the first half," chief executive Andy Harrison said today.

Costa has expanded rapidly on an explosion in popularity of coffee shops in Britain, and is seen by many as an affordable luxury despite the economic pressures faced by consumers.

Those pressures have helped fuel growth at its Premier Inn chain where customers have traded down from pricier five and four star hotels to its more affordable rooms.

Revenue per available room - a key industry measure - rose 2.4%, incorporating 4.4% growth in London, where the Olympics boosted sales, and 1.9% elsewhere in the UK.

Total group revenue rose by 14.2% to just over £1 billion. The company raised the interim dividend by 11.4% to 19.50 pence per share.

The company is aiming to add 4,500 rooms at Premier Inn and 350 Costa stores this year.