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Starbucks to enter Spanish market

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Starbucks Corp. said Monday it will open its first coffee shop in Spain, its first Spanish-speaking market, next spring under a joint venture with two companies in Madrid and Barcelona.

``We are on schedule and on track with our expansion plans for continental Europe,'' Peter Maslen, president of Starbucks Coffee International said in a statement. ``Spain is our first Latin market, and represents an important landmark for Starbucks.''

Starbucks, based in Seattle, said the agreement was signed with Madrid-based Grupo Vips and Europastry SA of Barcelona. Grupo Vips will be the majority shareholder in the venture.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Last week, the U.S. company said it would also open cafes in Germany next spring under a joint venture with department store giant KarstadtQuelle.

Starbucks, which started with a single store in Seattle in 1971, grew explosively in the 1990s, reaching 4,600 locations and countries such as China and Saudi Arabia. But despite offering European-style coffee such as cappuccino and espresso, it has been slow to tackle European markets and their sometimes tradition-bound coffee habits.

It has made some inroads in tea-loving Britain and got a foothold with a store in Zurich in March. The company plans to open in one of the continent's coffee capitals, Vienna, by the end of the year.
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