June 19, 2012 / 8:38 PM / 7 years ago

Starbucks outlines Latin America growth plans

Packets of Starbucks coffee are seen in a supermarket in Santa Monica, California, January 27, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) - Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) on Tuesday laid out its expansion plans for Latin America, where the world’s biggest coffee chain sources the majority of its coffee beans.

The company, which operates more than 560 shops in the region, will open its first Costa Rica shop in San Jose’s posh Escazu neighborhood on Wednesday.

Seattle-based Starbucks also said it plans to open “several hundred stores” in Brazil in the next five years.

Starbucks and joint-venture partner Alsea (ALSEA.MX) expect to add more than 300 new stores in Argentina and Mexico by 2015.

Earlier this month, Starbucks opened a farmer support center in Manizales, Colombia aimed at helping local growers improve coffee quality and yield.

Colombia, the world’s top producer of high-quality Arabica beans favored by Starbucks and other premium coffee sellers, has been struggling with a production slump caused by months of heavy rains.

Shares rose 1.7 percent to close at $55.12 on Nasdaq.

Reporting By Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Richard Chang

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