Costa Coffee has revealed its plans to open another 130 stores in the UK during 2010/2011, although its main focus will be on expanding its international business.

The UK chain, which revealed an operating profit increase of almost 60% for the full year to 4 March, 2010, opened 312 net new shops over the year, 188 of which were in the UK, increasing its total network by 24%.

The coffee chain also gained 88 Coffeeheaven stores in Central Europe with the acquisition of the Coffeeheaven, which was completed in the final quarter of 2009/2010.

Its international focus will be in the key markets of China, India, Russia, the Middle East and Central Europe, according to parent company Whitbread.

Sales at Costa increased by 23.4%, with like-for-like sales up 5.5%.

The firm said one of the key drivers behind the growth was independent research that showed seven out of 10 coffee lovers preferred Costa’s cappuccino, which Costa subsequently used as a key message in its advertising.

Its flat white coffee has also performed well, with over one million sales since its launch in January this year.

The firm said its UK growth will come from new high street locations, additional stores in established retail outlets, such as its partnership with Tesco and through bringing the Costa experience to hospitals and universities.

Costa currently has 1,600 outlets worldwide.