With the view of launching its own self-service coffee machines business – Costa Express, hotel and restaurant group Whitebread has decided to acquire the Coffee Nation brand.
Whitebread – which currently owns the Costa Coffee brand, will be paying £59.5 million for the acquisition of the Coffee Nation company, which operates 900 vending machines across UK.
Whitebread said it will roll out 3,000 vending machines over the next five years across the UK. The group has recorded a 3.9% growth in like-for-like sales in the 11 weeks to 17 February, over the same period last in the previous year, it disclosed.
Total group sales rose by an impressive 12.4%. Like-for-like sales eliminate sales of stores open for less than a year.
Explaining the rationale behind the acquisition, Whitebread said Coffee Nation ‘self serve bars’ were ‘fundamentally different’ from conventional coffee vending machines because they used freshly ground coffee and fresh milk.
“Customers increasingly want great tasting coffee on the go, which makes the self-serve coffee market very attractive”, said Andy Harrison – chief executive of Whitebread.
Costa Coffee operates 1,850 machines around the world with 1,200 in the UK alone. Whitebread also operates the Beefeater restaurant chain and Premier Inn chain of hotels.