A HAMPSHIRE business has just opened its 60th Starbucks store.

Hedge End-based 23.5 Degrees opened the outlet in Sheffield’s Drakehouse Retail Park on Friday just six months after hitting its half-century of shops.

Starbucks’ first UK franchised business partner, 23.5 Degrees, says it has further expansion plans.

Managing Director Mark Hepburn said: “Reaching our 60th Starbucks store just six months after opening our 50th demonstrates our commitment to our ambitious growth plans.

“We’re keen to keep our foot on the gas and hope to extend our store count considerably in the coming years.”

Six further new Starbucks stores are planned to open in the next three months, and 23 new stores planned for 2019. This follows 20 openings in 2018.

Mr Hepburn said 23.5 Degrees is actively seeking both freehold and leasehold drive-through opportunities on main arterial routes, close to major retail destinations or on large industrial estates.

Mark Hepburn added: “We’re able to move fast on great new sites. Our use of modular design and build enables our landlords to have our stores trading faster.”

Thirteen drive thru stores have been opened this year as far apart as Bournemouth, Norwich and Hartlepool.

It opened its first Starbucks store in Liphook, on the Hampshire/Surrey border, in February 2013.

It now employees more than 770 having started from scratch six years ago.

Mark Hepburn has a track record of success in food service franchise businesses, including Burger King and KFC, specialising in rapidly growing businesses.

According to consultancy firm Allegra Strategies, the UK coffee shop market will exceed 31,400 outlets with a turnover of £13bn by 2022 – up from the total of 24,061 outlets and turnover of £9.6bn in 2017.