WHITBREAD has announced plans to expand its Costa Coffee chain into France.
Britain’s biggest hotel and coffee shop operator said today that it was planning to open five Costa Coffee stores in France by the end 2015, on top of the four it opened in Paris in 2013.
Chief executive Andy Harrison told Reuters: that any further openings would not be announced until the next financial year.
He added: “We have opened our own stores because we think France could be a big market.”
The French expansion, where all Costa stores are wholly owned by the company, is different to the chain's move into Spain, where it is running a franchise operation.
The announcement came as Whitbread announced better-than-expected profits for the year of £411.8m (€499m), up 16.5% on the previous year.
American coffee shop chain Starbucks has already opened dozens of stores in France as it seeks out a slice of the country’s lucrative cafe market.
The group owns more than 2,800 Costa stores across the globe. Of those, 1,755 are in the UK and another 326 are in China.