The dual-listed café group has grown its Esquires estate to 94 stores – 68 of which are in its core UK and Ireland markets – and has outlined a solid pipeline of new outlets across the next six months
An Esquires store in Hithcin, Hertfordshire | Photo credit: Cooks Coffee Company
Cooks Coffee Company has said its prospects for the remainder of its financial year and beyond are strong following robust half-year sales.
The dual-listed café group, which operates the Esquires coffee chain across the UK and Ireland, reported total sales increasing 18% year-on-year in the six months ended 30 September 2023 to NZ$27.7m ($17m).
Its UK sales increased 22% to NZ$17.8m ($11m) – 58% higher than pre-pandemic levels – while the group’s revenues in Ireland grew 12% to NZ$9.9m ($6m).
Cooks Coffee said trading was boosted by outlet expansion in suburban areas and smaller market towns, rather than its previously favoured larger city locations.
The business opened four net new Esquires stores in the UK during the period to reach 53 outlets and two net new sites in Ireland to reach 15. Cooks Coffee is seeking to relocate its corporate office from New Zealand to the UK to focus on its UK and Ireland growth strategy.
As part of the strategy, the business has entered into an agreement to establish a Regional Developer in the UK for the Southwest, South Wales & West Midlands regions, who will focus on store growth. Cooks Coffee said the model has already proven successful in the Southeast, London, East England & East Midlands regions.
Cooks Coffee plans to open eight further stores in the UK and two in Ireland across the next six months.
The café group also has 26 franchised stores across Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan and Pakistan – all of which maintained steady trading during the six months.
Esquires is currently Cooks Coffee’s only café brand after its Triple Two business, which consisted of 11 operating franchised stores, was placed into voluntary administration on 23 October 2023.
In a statement accompanying its accounts, Cooks Coffee said the evident growth potential of Triple Two prior to the pandemic could not be maintained in a ‘changing market’ landscape.
Cooks Coffee said its Esquires business had not been affected by the Triple Two process. However, as a result of entering voluntary administration, Cooks Coffee fully impaired the Triple Two investment of $4.8m ($3m) which led to reporting a negative equity position for the group of $3.6m ($2.2m) at the end of September 2023.