The question has been raised in Britain as to whether the market for coffee shops has become saturated. From the BBC report, it seems the issue there arises because there appear to be a number of chains competing in the market. This seemingly makes the market there rather different from ours, as (at the risk of generalising) it seems that Melburnians (and Australians) don’t favour chains (look at the Starbucks experience).
It’s interesting that the report mentions an opinion in Britain that the big brands need to watch out for the rise of independent coffee shops.
Just the same in some areas, the market in Melbourne definitely appears saturated. Sure, the coffee culture is particularly strong in our neighbourhood, but the competition is brutal. Just as one place starts attracting a crowd, another place opens up or is re-furbished, the and the crowd’s loyalty quickly switches. And a change on proprietorship can result in a dramatic fall-off in business.