Sales at Costa Coffee soared by more than a fifth in the past year as consumers continue to get their caffeine fix despite the downturn.

Sales were up by 22% for the 50 weeks to February 12, part of a rise in like-for-like sales of 4.9% across parent company Whitbread.

Costa opened an additional 204 outlets in the UK last year, giving the chain a total of 885 domestic branches.

Costa’s results come as a boost for Whitbread, with the leisure giant facing a drop in occupancy at its Premier Inns hotel chain.

“In these recessionary times, operating well-maintained, value-for-money hotel and restaurant brands offers significant opportunities for Whitbread to outperform in our market,” said chief executive Alan Parker. “Costa continues to perform well.”

Whitbread also said it would be further lowering its capital expenditure in the year ahead to £170m, having previously announced plans to slash investment over the next 12 months from £300m to £200m.