Costa Coffee has ramped up its operating profits by 38.4% in the financial year to 3 March 2011, to nudge over the £50m mark.

Parent company Whitbread announced it plans to grow Costa store numbers by approximately 15% - around 300 new stores, to 3,500 stores worldwide.

The UK coffee chain also saw like-for-like sales up 7.8%.

In March this year it acquired Coffee Nation - operator of self-service coffee machines, and announced plans to launch a new brand - Costa Express, with a target 3,000 units over the next five years.

Costa has opened a total of 347 in the UK in the past year taking its total to 1,217. It has 654 stores internationally.

The firm also noted that the integration of Coffeeheaven, the central European business it acquired last year, had gone well and the performance in its key Polish market was ahead of expectations, with like-for-like sales up 6.1%.