Costa Coffee to open 300 new stores in China

BEIJING - Costa Coffee has opened its first outlet in Beijing ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games as part of a joint venture which aims to open 300 stories in north east China.

The Costa store is located in the middle of Beijing's IT business district in the Shang Di Shopping Mall, serving around 20,000 people a day from both residential and business areas.

It was opened under a joint venture between Whitbread PLC and the Beijing Hualian Group -- a leading retailer in China with annual revenues in excess of £1.3bn.

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's managing director, John Derkach, said: "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."

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