UK-based hotel and coffee shop operator Whitbread is seeking expansion of its Costa Coffee chain to increase the store count to 3,500 over the next four years.

The chain currently operates a total of 2,400 outlets in the UK and overseas and has chalked out plans to add a further 1,100 coffee shops across the globe.

However, the company is keen on expanding its retail footprint in French market, looking for high street locations in Paris to unveil new stores.

Property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs is looking for store locations for the chain on busy high streets of Paris, Reuters reported citing an advertisement.

Whitbread spokesperson stated that the company is set to open a Costa store at Nice Airport in southeast France by the end of April 2013.

Whitbread, meanwhile, also plans to boost its retail network by two-fold in its second largest market, China, with 250 openings in the country. It currently has 250 Costa Coffee outlets in the largest Asian market.

The company has grossed $122.13m in earnings before interest and tax from 1,500 British retail stores.

Morgan Stanley analyst was quoted by the news agency as saying: "While higher risk, there could be a bigger profit pool in, say, France and Germany than in China."