LONDON - Whitbread, Britain's biggest hotel operator, said on Tuesday trading in the first quarter had been in line with its expectations with total group sales increasing by 2.5 percent.

The group said its budget hotel chain Premier Inn, which accounts for about 70 percent of earnings, had seen flat total sales in the first quarter with like-for-like sales down 7.9 percent and revenue per available room down 9.6 percent.

Whitbread said like-for-like sales at its pub restaurants, which include the Beefeater and Brewers' Fayre chains, rose by 2 percent during the quarter.

The group said its Costa Coffee business had seen an 18.5 percent rise in total sales and 2.6 percent growth in like-for-like sales.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham)