Dominic Paul, managing director of Costa Coffee, has said that like-for-like sales at the company’s new concept stores have continued to grow while also driving up food and artisan coffee volumes respectively.

Speaking to investors after parent company Whitbread announced its half-year results yesterday, Paul said that the early signs from the stores focussing on a wider food and coffee ranges were encouraging in terms of a wider rollout.

Meanwhile, Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain stressed that the company was now through the testing stage of its drive-thru and quick service Pronto formats and ready for wider rollout.

She also said the Click & Collect service was live in 10 Costa stores with plans for a “much larger rollout” in 2017.

However, she warned investors that further investment was needed across the estate.

She said: “Costa has grown at a phenomenal rate over the past five years. There are always points where you need to invest in the next stage of growth – and this is one of those times. We have tills that are 15 years old. The shareholders have had a fantastic journey of sweating those assets and I expect these new systems will last another 15 years.”

The first Costa Fresco opened on Tottenham Court Road at the end of last year. The fresher food range has now been rolled out to 13 further stores in London.

The first artisan coffee store opened in Covent Garden at the start of the summer. An evolved format – including a separate evening offer with alcohol – launched in Wandsworth earlier this month.

Asked about the progress of the new concept stores, Paul said: “It’s early days in terms of the formats but we’re seeing really encouraging signs. In the new finer coffee stores we are seeing success in penetration of more expensive brews and different types of coffee. The stores where we are trialling a wider food offer have also been successful. In both the finer and food stores our like-for-like sales are increasing nicely. That gives us confidence that we can iterate two concepts that we think are going to be very successful and over time that we can roll out. The goal is very much to test and learn the new formats, find out what our customers like and then gradually roll that out across the estate.”

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