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Costa Coffee concept store sees double-digit growth

The largest coffee chain in the UK is looking to replicate the success of the concept store it launched in Wandsworth, London, in October 2017. 

Deb Caldow, head of innovation at Costa Coffee explained in a presentation at Retail Design Expo that “ within days [of the launch of the trial store], like-for-likes were in double digits and [the numbers have] stayed that way. Our NPS (Net Promoter Score) also went through the roof. We saw more people coming back, more often.”

Caldow added that the new format wasn’t simply a refurbishment programme, but a chance for the brand to review its product offer and customer service. In the Wandsworth store a new food menu includes sharing plates and avocado on toast, and extended opening hours are being trialled - with alcohol on offer during the evening.

Design and architectural agency Edge collaborated with Our Design Agency to create the trial store. Talking alongside Caldow, Edge director Michael Fern said the challenge of designing the concept store was in striking the balance between addressing “the niggles” people had with the stores while retaining the affinity people had with a brand that was founded in 1981.

“The starting point was spending time with customers. They’re a very comfortable place…a lot of the older formats they have been there from the 90s. The idea of change was met with some level of resistance,” Fern explained.  

Caldow believes the success of the new store is in large part about being confident enough in the brand to get rid of areas - inside and outside the store - that were over-branded. The Costa red was “pared down” explains Fern. Grant Willis, creative director and co-founder at Our Design Agency, added that heritage and storytelling were important components of the store design.

“Heritage and stories were in its DNA but hadn’t been told, so we spent time with the Costa brothers uncovering these stories," he told conference delegates. Some of those heritage stories can be seen in artwork commissioned for the store, and in various signposts around the interior. 

But the Wandsworth store isn’t a one off “vanity parade” said Caldow emphatically. There are plans to “lift and shift” the store design to other branches. “This is a glimpse of the Costa store of the future.”