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Starbucks has announced that it plans to open about 1,300 new stores this year, an expansion rate that is about three-and-a-half units per day, with chairman Howard Schultz saying that "the power of the brand is more evident now than ever."

However, as The Financial Times notes, it hasn’t all been easy for Starbucks outside the US, with negative same store sales reports coming out of Japan, and conditions in Israel that forced it to pull out of that country.

"In the US,<'' FT reports, "Starbucks's performance has been strong. It is attracting more customers by introducing new drinks and speeding up service. It is also expanding out of pure retailing by selling its branded coffees through other retailers and restaurants."

The year seems to have started off in the right direction. February chain-wide same-store sales were up 13 percent, while total sales were up 32 percent to $288 million.
KC's View:
You realize just how ubiquitous Starbucks has become when you’re out of the country. When we were in London earlier this week, it seemed like there was one on almost every corner, and they all seemed to be crowded.