San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Starbucks Coffee Coming to Central America

Starbucks Coffee Company, the most profitable gourmet coffee seller in the United States, announced Monday that it soon will be opening stores throughout Central America. Starbucks signed an agreement with Corporación de Franquicias Americanas (CFA), one of Central America’s largest operators of franchise restaurants, to begin the process. The first Starbucks will open in San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital, before the end of the year.

“Starbucks and Corporación de Franquicias Americanas, a Salvadoran company, will work together to determine how many Starbucks locations will be built in Central America,” Manuela Velásquez, Starbucks’ Central American marketing director, told The Tico Times. “At this time, we don’t know how many locations will be built, but we do know that the first Starbucks will be constructed in San Salvador this year. When Starbucks locations will be built in other Central American countries has not yet been determined.”

CFA has built 138 stores in El Salvador and Guatemala. CFA operates primarily U.S.-based restaurant chains such as Pizza Hut, KFC, Wendy’s and China Wok.

Starbucks, which has 16,728 locations worldwide according to a company spokesman, reported sales of $2.6 billion in the second quarter of this year, an 8.7 percent increase compared with the same quarter of 2009. After a difficult year in 2009, during which Starbucks closed approximately 900 international stores, the company has seen profits soar thus far in 2010.Starbucks attributes much of the improvement in sales to the popularity of Via Ready Brew, the company’s instant coffee brand that has eclipsed $100 million in sales since being introduced in October of 2009.

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