Britain's Whitbread posted a 4.3% rise in first quarter underlying group sales today, helped by strong demand at its budget hotel chain Premier Inn and continued growth in its Costa Coffee business. 

The company also said that Lloyds Banking Group executive Alison Brittain would join Whitbread as CEO designate on September 28.

She will replace outgoing Andy Harrison as its boss in December, a month earlier than originally planned. 

Harrison, who has helped Whitbread's stock market value soar from £2.5 billion to almost £10 billion during his five year tenure, will now retire from full-time executive life in December rather than next February. 

Whitbread said today that underlying sales at Premier Inn rose 6.3% in the 13 weeks to May 28, with new openings helping total sales rise 14.3%. 

Total Costa Coffee sales grew 17.2% with sales at UK stores open over a year up 5% on a year ago. 

The overall group sales growth of 4.3% was in line with expectations and compared to a rise of 6.5% in its 2014-15 financial year. 

In April the group increased its expansion targets out to 2020, aiming to reach 85,000 Premier Inn UK rooms from 59,471 now and Costa sales of £2.5 billion compared to £1.4 billion currently as it expands overseas.