Although major operators such as Costa, Caffè Nero, Pret a Manger and EAT have many of their outlets in London and the South East, the trend over the past few years has been to open outlets in the high streets and shopping centres of regional cities and towns, and at other high-footfall locations, such as airports, railway stations, motorway service stations, petrol-station forecourts, cinemas, universities, hospitals, leisure centres and theme parks.
The number of branded coffee- and sandwich-shop outlets in the UK and the Republic of Ireland has continued to increase at a rapid pace. Between mid-2005 and late 2008, the number of coffee shops operated under the top 12 brands rose by 74.9%.This was principally due to the activities of Costa, Starbucks, Caffè Nero, Caffè Ritazza and Coffee Republic.
There has been increasing competition from other retailers, such as department stores, variety stores and the larger supermarkets, many of which have refurbished their café and restaurant facilities. However, some of these in-store coffee shops are run by the major branded chains, such as Costa. Many of the major UK-based branded coffee- and sandwich-shop operators have also been expanding abroad, largely through franchises and joint ventures. The principal regions involved are the Middle East, Eastern Europe, India, Russia and various Pacific Rim countries — notably China.
The recent strong growth in outlet numbers is thus forecast to fall significantly over the next 5 years, during a recession that could affect the market until 2012.
The issue of attracting new consumers is being addressed by hot beverages producers through the development and promotion of products that are perceived to be 'healthier', such as decaffeinated coffees and teas, green teas, speciality teas, fruit and herb teas, and low-calorie chocolate and malted drinks. Increasing sales of premium-priced 'indulgence' products — such as the... [continues]
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