British coffee chain to enter India

London-based coffee chain Coffee Republic plans to enter the Indian market with 50-80 stores on track to open within five years.

Coffee Republic is currently in  talks with potential local partners, according to CEO Tariq Affara.

Affara said India is a perfect country for expansion due to its growing young and middle class consumers with preference for international brands.

“If we were to wait another five years, we would miss the boat in India,” he said.

Initial target locations will be India’s metro cities first before expanding to second-tier cities. Coffee Republic will assign more than one franchisee, in the event it cannot find a suitable national franchisee, says Affara.

Coffee Republic, which began operations in 1995, will compete with home-grown coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day and US coffee giant Starbucks which will open 50 outlets in India by year end.

India’s management consulting firm Technopak Advisors estimates the Indian coffee market will grow 30 per cent to more than US$600 million by 2015-2016 from US$170 million. The premium coffee market dominated by Gloria Jean’s, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Costa Coffee is currently valued at US$40-45 million.

Coffee Republic currently operates nearly 200 cafes in the UK and about 100 in countries including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Cyprus, Kuwait, Romania, Bulgaria and South Africa. The British coffee chain also plans to enter markets such as Malaysia, Qatar and China.


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