Costa UK has announced a 2.0% drop in like-for-like first quarter sales as a result of low footfall “in traditional shopping locations”, although new Express coffee machines in c-stores helped drive up total sales.

Owner Whitbread said total Costa UK sales increased by 5.2% over the quarter, with UK Express sales up 9.6% and like-for-like sales up 1.0%.

Costa Express’ buoyant results demonstrated “the strong customer demand for the convenience and quality of coffee provided by this unique proposition”, Whitbread said in a statement.

Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain said: “Costa UK grew total sales by 5.2% in the quarter through the strong contribution from new stores and Express machines.

“We continue to actively rebalance our network to high-footfall and convenient locations and have made good progress with our product innovation and operational initiatives.”

The upgrade of point-of-sale terminals across the UK was completed in April, which has enabled the trial of mobile ordering of coffee in 16 stores in London.

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