Caffè Nero says that the UK coffee shop market could support 700 Nero stores - 100 more than it said this time last year.

The directors of the Italian-style coffee bar chain said they still believed there were strong growth prospects in the UK branded coffee bar market, and that they intended to “continue the rapid roll out of the Caffè Nero concept around the country”.

As published in its latest accounts, filed at Companies House yesterday (13 November), Nero added that it planned to open 50 new shops this financial year.

For the full-year to 31 May 2012, the chain saw revenue growth of 11.5% to £184.6m, from £165.6m in 2011, which it put down to new store openings and like-for-like sales growth of 2.7%.

Gross profit was up 7% to £44.4m (£41.5m in 2011), while EBITDA increased 4.7% to £31.5m (£30.1m in 2011). Operating profit grew by 10.4% to £19.1m (£17.4m in 2011).

In its 2011/12 financial year, the coffee chain achieved a net increase of 45 shops - 51 new shops and the closure of six under-performing stores - which translates to an increase in its overall shop estate of 9.4%.

At the year end it had 480 stores, operating in 232 UK towns and cities.