Coffee shop and deli bar chain Coffee Republic has sold eight sites to rival Caffe Nero for £900,000, it said today.
The sale, which consists of £700,000 in cash and then a further amount of cash equal to Caffe Nero's 5.7% stake in Coffee Republic, means Caffe Nero no longer has a holding in the chain.
The move, said Coffee Republic, was part of its strategy of focusing on its new deli format and disposing of any sites that did not fit that bill.
Those being sold include sites in Weymouth, Yeovil, Brighton, Cardiff, Banbury and Bath.
Caffe Nero said it intended to covert the sites to its brand within the next two months, at a cost of about £50,000 each.
It also gave a brief update on trading for the second half of the year, which it said had "materially outperformed" expectations.
The chain had also exceeded its target of having 160 locations by its May financial year end.
Chairman Gerry Ford said: "The acquisition of this package of a further eight sites provides added impetus to Caffe Nero's current store expansion.
"We have also increased our organic opening rate to approximately four stores a month since the half-year end (November 2003).
"Consequently we now have 171 locations across the UK. Recent new store openings are also performing well, which is encouraging."
by Nic Paton
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