Eastern Europeans are developing a taste for upmarket coffee judging by the results of British-owned coffee chain Coffeeheaven.

The AIM-listed coffee bar group, which has 59 sites in central Europe, reported half-year pre-tax profits of £140,000 for the six months to 30 September 2006. This compares with a loss of £366,000 in the same period last year.

Like-for-like sales increased 28% in the period as turnover rose 61% to £4.41m. Revenues for the year are expected to be close to £9.8m.

Currently Coffeeheaven has 39 sites in Poland where a 28% growth increase was reported. It is hoping to exceed its target of 40 stores by the end of the year.

Sales increased by 41% in the Czech Republic where it has nine sites. In Latvia, where the group has eight stores, sales increased 19%. It also has two sites in Bulgaria and one in Slovakia.

Richard Worthington, executive chairman, said: "These results demonstrate the strong appeal of Coffeeheaven with consumers and that the group’s development strategy is capitalising on the growing economies of central Europe.

"With a presence in five central European markets and sector leadership in the largest, Coffeeheaven is now firmly established as one of Central Europe’s leading brand coffee bar chains."

The group expects to have 63 outlets trading, all in areas of high retail penetration, by the end of its financial year on 31 March 2007. The company is looking to expand into Ukraine, Romania, Estonia and Hungary.