Published: 12:12, 30 March 2021
| Updated: 12:15, 30 March 2021
Costa Coffee looks set to close its long-standing Canterbury high street cafe as part of a “strictly confidential” disposal of which staff are unaware.
The prime unit, on the junction of Guildhall Street next to the empty Debenhams site, is up on the market in search for new tenants.
Despite being advertised for lease, coffee giant Costa says it has no “immediate plans” to shut down the cafe.
Yet an online marketing brochure for the site heavily suggests the firm is preparing to depart from the high street.
The brochure - created by Smith Price RPG - states in bold that the cafe disposal is “strictly confidential”.
When asked by KentOnline this week for a closing date, Costa said: “We do not have any immediate plans to close the Costa Coffee store on the high street, which is currently open and trading safely in line with government guidelines.”
The marketing document, which is viewable online for everyone to read, states: “The shop staff are totally unaware of the intended disposal and therefore viewings can only be carried out with prior notice.”
The cost of any proposed lease for interested occupiers is not specified.
Reacting to the news, Lisa Carlson, Canterbury Business Improvement District (BID) chief executive, said: “Any closure is disappointing but this isn’t necessarily unexpected - it’s not a shock.
“It’s such a challenging balance right now. It’s hard to see certain things change, especially when you think about people’s jobs.
“But on the other hand, we know how much interest there is in Canterbury. So we mourn the losses, but at the same time we know there is interest, and any closure presents an opportunity for someone.
“Some of the larger units take time to be filled, so when you see nothing happening it’s a bit unnerving.
“But if Costa leaving does come to fruition, then that’s likely to be a unit which moves faster.
“We have to wait to see what happens but on the whole I still feel really positive about the city.”