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26 Mar, 2008 16:04

Costa Coffee pours into Moscow

One of Britain’s largest coffee chains, Costa Coffee, has opened its first shop in Moscow. It’s the first of around 200 planned shops in Russia in the next five years. But this might not be an easy target, in a market unfamiliar with western coffee shop c

Drinking coffee in specialised outlets has become a recent habit for a small number of Russians. The market for coffee houses is growing strongly, by almost 20% per year.

This growth has been helped by the current boom in consumer food services.

Coffee giant Starbucks has opened three stores in Moscow in the past year.

British coffee chain Costa Coffee is entering the Russian market via a joint venture with the country’s leading casual dining restaurant chain Rosinter.

However, analysts say it will be difficult for the British company to achieve a sustainable share of the market – even though the Russian market is far from saturated.

Russian consumers are not familiar with the takeaway drinks phenomenon, which came from Europe and the US – they tend to look for business lunches on the street.

Currently, drinking top brand coffee is not a cheap habit in Russia's cities. A cup of coffee in a specialist outlet can cost you from $5-10. Experts attribute this to the increasing rental rates for commercial premises in the main cities, especially Moscow.

Kofe Hause and Shokoladnica are the leading coffee chains in Russia, with the bulk of the market share. New entrants to the market are likely to have to offer something new to find their own niche consumers.