UK coffee shop operator Coffee Republic is to rebrand its outlets as delicatessen-style cafes, under the Republic Deli banner.

The company plans to sell around 15 of its portfolio of 75 stores, and over time all the remaining stores will be rebadged as Republic Delis, with a greater emphasis on food than on coffee. Coffee Republic chairman Bobby Hashemi told Dow Jones Newswires that a pilot carried out at one of the company's central London locations had proved successful.

The company aims to differentiate itself from other chains by focusing on food prepared at the time of order, rather than on pre-packaged sandwiches. Hashemi said Coffee Republic had identified a gap in the market for freshly prepared sandwiches with high quality ingredients.

Coffee Republic has struggled recently from a rumoured glut in UK coffee bar market, which may be reaching saturation point. The company has three larger rivals: Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Caffe Nero, which last year made a takeover bid for Coffee Republic.