45 store openings a year is the target for Caffe Nero

Caffe Nero is showing no let-up in its desire to scale its business, with the company planning to have opened 45 new sites by the end of its fiscal year in May.

The coffee chain’s intention to grow its store presence is a “key part” of its UK strategy, revealed in parent company Italian Coffee Holdings’ latest annual report filed with Companies House.

Caffe Nero is the third largest coffee chain by store count in the UK market, behind Costa (2,326) and Starbucks (956). Bosses at the chain, which operated 637 stores at its year end, believe there is potential to reach 900 units in the UK and Ireland.

The opening of new stores and like-for-like sales growth of 3% drove overall sales up 12% to £287.9m for the year to 31 May 2017, while operating profit grew marginally to £25.7m.

The figures also include the contribution from sister company Harris & Hoole, which was acquired during the year.

In its last full year, Caffe Nero opened 33 stores and nine stores were handed back to the landlord, resulting in a net increase of 24 stores or 4% of the overall estate. Harris & Hoole added 37 stores to the group’s total.

In addition to its core range of handcrafted espresso-based coffees, Caffe Nero offers an array of pastries, baked goods, Panini sandwiches, salads, pastas and cakes.

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