Costa Opens First Beijing Store Days Ahead of Olympics

August 06, 2008 // Franchising.com // Costa Coffee, the UK's largest and fastest-growing coffee shop brand, announces today the opening of its first store in Beijing, days ahead of start of the 2008 Olympic games.

The Costa store, located in the Shang Di Shopping Mall will be the first opened under a joint venture between Whitbread PLC and the Beijing Hualian Group. The JV intends to open 300 Costa coffee shops in Beijing and surrounding provinces in North East China, over the next few years.

Shang Di Mall is based in the Haidian District of Beijing. It is the first major shopping mall opening in this area and is in the middle of Beijing's IT business district. Costa is located in the centre of the 60,000 sq Mall which serves upwards of 20,000 people a day from both residential and business areas.

The Beijing Hualian Group is a leading retailer in China, with annual revenues in excess of £1.3 billion. The Group operates 70 hypermarkets and department stores along with 10 shopping centres.

This is Costa's second joint venture in China and extends the brand's coverage from Shanghai, where it now operates 25 stores via a second joint venture with the Yueda Group.

Costa already trades in 23 countries including, India, Ireland and a number of territories in the Middle East.

Costa's Managing Director, John Derkach, commented:

"This is another major milestone for Costa. Our strategy has always been to develop several different markets in China, to fully capitalise on the vast opportunity presented by China's continued economic growth and aspiring young consumers. Today's opening in China's capital city further enhances Costa's status as a major international brand."

Director of Joint Ventures, Paul Smith, commented:

"Costa has been trading in Shanghai for 18 months and is already a favourite among Chinese customers. The stores in Shanghai are delivering strong sales growth and we have high expectations of our joint venture partnership in Beijing".

About Costa:

Costa is now officially the largest and fastest growing coffee shop chain in the UK. It opened its 1000th milestone store in March 2008 in Moscow.

In 2007/08, Costa reported turnover up 23.5% to £216.3 million, like for like sales up by 6.5% and profits of £20.8 million up 16.9%.

Costa was founded by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971. With over 750 stores in the UK and over 300 internationally, Costa has enjoyed a remarkable period of growth since it opened its first store. It now operates in 23 countries.

Costa Coffee is the first UK coffee shop chain to commit sourcing Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee.

Costa's in-store baristas are all coached in the art of coffee making at the company's unique Costa Coffee Academy based at its own roastery in Lambeth, London.

Costa set up a registered charity (no.327489) in 2006 called 'The Costa Foundation' to give something back to the communities within the countries from which Costa sources its coffee beans.

Costa is part of the Whitbread family of brands.

About Whitbread:

Whitbread PLC is the UK's largest hotel and restaurant company operating market-leading businesses in the budget hotels and restaurant sectors. Its brands include Premier Inn, Beefeater, Table Table, Brewers Fayre, Taybarns and Costa Coffee.

Whitbread PLC employs over 33,000 people and serves 8.5 million customers every month in its 1500 outlets across the UK.

In the financial year ending 28th February 2008, Whitbread PLC reported an 11.3% increase in Group Revenue to £1.18 billion and 26.3% increase in Pre-tax Profit to £210.3 million.

Whitbread PLC is a FTSE 100 company, listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is also a member of the FTSE4Good Index. In July 2008, Whitbread's market capitalization was circa £2.0 billion.

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