RIGA - As the Baltic economies continue to feel the crunch of a long awaited economic crash, the wildly popular Latvian coffee chain Double Coffee has announced that it will be forced to put its development plans on hold.
DC Holding, the company in charge of Double Coffee's Latvia operations, said it would have to revise its development plan, cutting back on expansions and possibly even closing existing restaurants. The company has already been forced to put its Lithuanian expansion plans on hold.
Double Coffee Restaurant Executive Director Ineta Sumskiha said that the company will focus on improving operations and results from the chain's existing restaurants.
"We cannot open new and new restaurants," she said.
"As other companies we are also analyzing economic indicators and development plans are suspended for some time, while the economy is slowing down. We do not assume it possible that restaurants might stop their operations or expansion," she said.
The executive director also noted that the company has a strong brand name, and has been able to win a secure place in the market since it opened in 2002. However, plans to open a restaurant in Panorama Plaza, a massive shopping center that is still under construction, will have to be delayed.
"Construction of this project has been delayed due to economic reasons, therefore it is planned that the restaurant and the shopping center will be opened in April. I hope the country's economy will have recovered by that time," she said.
Double Coffee had previously decided to suspend its expansion in Lithuania and will close down two of its Vilnius locations.
According to the company's Web site, there are 21 Double Coffee outlets in Latvia, eight in Lithuania, five in Estonia and five in Ukraine and one in Belarus. The company plans to increase the number of its cafes to 100 within five years.
DC Restorani, the owner of Double Coffee, last year posted 5.229 million lats (7.44 million euros) in turnover, up 3.4 times from 2006. This year, the company's turnover is 15 percent smaller than in 2007.