Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - Sales at popular coffee chains increased by 28 percent last year.
The nation¿s top six coffee franchises - Starbucks, Caffe Bene, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Tom n Toms, Hollys and Coffine Gurunaru - recorded total sales of 743.3 billion won ($651.1 million) in 2011, according to Financial Supervisory Service¿s Data Analysis, Retrieval and Transfer System. In 2010, they brought in 580.7 billion won.
Starbucks topped the market, recording 298.2 billion won in sales. During the last decade, the coffee chain has increased its sales 12-fold. Net profit increased 11-fold during the same period, from 1.6 billion won in 2001 to 18.1 billion won last year.
Local brand Caffe Bene saw explosive growth, opening 790 stores since it first opened in 2008. Starbucks, which opened in 1999, currently has fewer than 500 stores. Caffe Bene came in second in sales with 167.5 billion won.
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, which marked 133.8 billion won in sales last year, came third in the list, followed by Tom n Toms (62.5 billion won), Hollys (57.7 billion won) and Coffine Gurunaru (23.1 billion won).
Industry insiders say that the actual growth of the coffee franchise market is even greater, considering other chains such as Angel-in-us and Twosome Place.