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Coffee shops benefit from online shopping trend

23 June 2014 - 11:51 by Graham Miller

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This week, the Costa chain of coffee shops reported that sales were up by 4.5 per cent over the past quarter across its 1755 outlets in the UK. This is clearly good news for parent company, Whitbread, and further indication of how popular this type of outlet has become.

Interestingly, the rise in sales at cafe franchises like this is not just attributed to people's growing appreciation for quality coffee, but also to the changing consumer habits that are being brought about by shopping online.

Whitbread CEO, Andy Harrison, said that the availability of e-commerce sites mean that people do not need to spend as much of their free time shopping, whereas in the past, they would have been bogged down with the process of going to high street stores and supermarkets.

As a result, people now have the opportunity to sit down, relax and grab a hot drink and a sandwich when they do take the time to visit their local town centre, which is clearly good news for firms like Costa.

Of course, this is a less positive turn for other retailers that rely on bricks and mortar outlets, because with more people experiencing safe shopping online and spending less time on the high street, sales will continue to slide.

It seems like the towns and cities of the UK will be reshaped by the rise of e-commerce, with restaurants, cafes and bars all doing well, as people use high streets for leisure and relaxation rather than frantic shopping sprees

Meanwhile, traditional shops will become more like showrooms, as well as venues from which consumers can pick up items that they have already ordered and paid for online, thanks to the rise of click & collect culture in recent years.