Growing Costa reviews its PR

UK coffee chain Costa Coffee is reviewing its PR ahead of a national expansion programme within the highly competitive UK coffee bar market.

UK coffee chain Costa Coffee is reviewing its PR ahead of a

national expansion programme within the highly competitive UK coffee bar

market.



Costa Coffee is talking to agencies about handling a new consumer and

trade PR accout. The company would not say whether it was reviewing its

incumbent agency, Red.



Costa Coffee brand manager Barry Clark confirmed that the company was

reviewing its PR. He added: ’We are always open to new ideas but at the

moment our agency is Red and that is not going to change in the near

future.’



The company wants to assert its Italian heritage, particularly with its

target audience of 20- to 30-year-olds, as rival US firms expand in the

UK.



Competition in the market is growing, particularly from expanding

companies such as the Seattle Coffee Company, which was bought by US

operator Starbucks last year.



Costa Coffee, owned by Whitbread, operates a chain of 130 managed cafe

outlets. It plans to expand to at least another 50 outlets by next year;

most are expected to be in London. The capital is the strongest coffee

market in the UK, although Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester are also

big markets.



Costa Coffee also produces its own branded coffee, mainly for

Sainsbury’s and Waitrose supermarkets. Its products sell in more than

2,000 outlets, including hotels, book stores and Italian

restaurants.



Costa Coffee wants to assert its coffee brand in other branded

environments, including cafes within book chain Waterstones and

providing coffee in pub chain Hogshead.



In 1997, coffee sales in the UK reached pounds 47.8 million and

speciality coffee bars took 11.9 per cent of all consumer coffee

catering.



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