Costa launches Express self-service brand

Costa plans to launch a chain of self-service coffee bars under the brand name Costa Express following the acquisition of Coffee Nation.

Costa-owner Whitbread has bought Coffee Nation from Milestone Capital and Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance for £59.5m.

Costa says the acquisition provides access to different locations and allows it to target the emerging self-service coffee sector. It plans to open 3,000 locations over the next five years, which it claims could quadruple its profit contribution.

There are currently around 2,000 self-service coffee bars in the UK of which Coffee Nation operates 900 in “quality” locations such as Tesco stores and Moto and Welcome Break motorway services.

Andy Harrison, chief executive of Whitbread, says: “Customers increasingly want great tasting coffee on the go, which makes the self-serve coffee market very attractive.

This acquisition provides an exciting launch pad to develop 3,000 Costa Express bars across the UK, providing an additional growth lever for the Costa brand and making Costa available to more customers in more locations.”

Costa is the UK’s largest coffee shop brand with more than 1,200 stores in the UK and a further 650 internationally.

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