The UK’s third-biggest coffee shop chain Caffè Nero has shrugged off pressures from the economy by ploughing on with its growth plans for 2011.

The 475-outlet chain, which grew by 75 stores in 2010, said it plans to open another 50 in 2011, despite pressures such as the 5% VAT increase and high unemployment.

“There will be pressures on us, but at the same time growth continues,” head of food and beverage Neville Moon told BB. “We’re looking to open 45-50 new stores this year. The strategy has been to up the game in food and coffee.”

Business development director Paul Ettinger also revealed plans to extend its overseas operations. “We are hoping to open in at least one more country this year – hopefully more than that. We see some real opportunities around the world.”