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Caffè Nero eyes return to UK stores growth following the pandemic

The UK coffee chain announces a major investment in two new flagship stores at Stansted and Belfast airports, with six further sites in the pipeline as the business emerges from the pandemic

Caffè Nero is looking to return to growth following the pandemic | Photo credit: Christopher Rusev

Caffè Nero has kicked off its ‘post-Covid’ store openings programme in the UK with two new stores at Stansted and Belfast airports.
The coffee chain will open a new 1,800sq ft flagship store at Stansted Airport’s International Departure Lounge. Won via a tender process, the coffee shop replaces a former Starbucks outlet, represents and £750k investment and will create more than 25 new jobs, Caffè Nero said.
Caffè Nero is also opening a flagship store at Belfast City Airport. Scheduled to open in June 2022, the 2,100sq ft store replaces a branch of Costa Coffee and will be the largest coffee shop in the airport, according to the coffee chain.
In a press release, Caffè Nero said the openings marked the beginning of its renewed store openings programme as it emerges from the pandemic. The coffee chain added that it would open six UK sites by early summer, with further sites ‘being screened’ for more openings later in the year.
“Both airports are predicting passenger numbers will exceed pre-pandemic numbers in the coming years, so these are important sites for us to win. As the UK emerges from pandemic restrictions, we are looking to return to growth by resuming our store openings programme,” said Caffè Nero Group Founder and CEO, Gerry Ford.
“Customers are talking with their feet, and we are already seeing customer numbers increase week by week. We will be looking at other new sites moving forward as there seem to be a lot of very good opportunities out there,” Ford added.
Caffè Nero continues to recover from severe disruption to its business brought about by pandemic trading restrictions. Reporting its half-year results in late-February, the coffee said said it was trading at 90% of pre-Covid levels, with sales between June and November 2021 rising 211% to £135.7m ($184.2) compared to the same period in 2020.
Founded by Gerry Ford in 1997, Caffè Nero operates more than 1,000 stores across ten countries, including more than 650 cafés in the UK.

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