Coffee shops buzzing despite recession

Good news brewing on the high street: coffee chains have grown 47% in a year.

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

That's according to research by the Local Data Company, which has counted the caffeine peddlers of 705 town centres. It shows that while other retailers may be struggling, people are at least out there, and that they're still happy to splash a few quid on the things that matter - particularly those that involve bombarding their ailing synapses with stimulants. Estimates suggest the coffee market will be worth £12bn by 2012.

And there's an aroma of good news for the smaller retailer. The number of independent coffee shops in the researched centres has grown by 12.5%, taking their total to 9,441 - compared to just over 2,000 chain outlets. That's an interesting figure: it seems so hard to get a coffee these days beyond the chain stores, and scores of trendy punters wagging chins over a frappy whatsit.

So why the growth? In these straitened times, people are seemingly more inclined to meet over a brew than settle in for an expensive meal. And the rise of wi-fi has made the coffee shop a viable office for remote workers seeking a more productive option than sitting at home in spittle-stained pyjamas trying to crank out a report in front of Quincy.

Taking into account the size of the town centres, the UK's coffee hotspots are Camden Town in London, with 66 outlets; Brighton, with 121; and Edinburgh, with 182. The capital apparently has one coffee shop for every 1,105 shoppers. Earlier this year the potent blend of high demand and crop failure had the coffee industry warning of an explosion in prices, yet clearly our coffee users remain undeterred. And we thought we were meant to be a nation of tea-drinkers.

In today's bulletin:

Banking revolution looms as RBS admits extra disposals
Ryanair plays hardball with Boeing as profits soar
Council tax cuts a sign of Tory things to come?
Coffee shops buzzing despite recession
MT Expert's Ten Top Tips: How to profit from the Next Big Thing

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