Our embrace of coffee culture continues unabated. Every High Street is dominated by The Big 3 – Costa, Starbucks & Caffe Nero – and the back streets increasingly proliferate with ever funkier artisan shops providing the perfect espresso.
I actively avoid The Big 3, despite being a small shareholder in Costa owner Whitbread. Apart from when they emailed me a free £5 download voucher, obviously.
And now I’ve also invested in a bundle of Starbucks outlets, through a franchise operator who was the first UK franchisee and which is now looking to further expand its portfolio of home counties shops.
Yes I know, Starbucks are the work of the devil, vilified a few years ago for their minimal UK tax payments. But I’m afraid I’m not a particularly ethical investor and besides, they’ve addressed a lot of their corporate shortcomings.
I can’t see us being weaned off the caffeine addiction any time soon, and this franchisee looks like a slick operator. This is part of an attempt to de-risk our pension portfolio away from direct equities, and – if the investment goes according to plan – should result in a profitable exit a few years down the track.
So keep on ordering those skinny lattes, espresso macchiatos and flat whites. And who needs more clothes shops when you could be drinking coffee?