Starbucks says will create 5,000 jobs in Britain

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US coffee chain Starbucks announced Thursday that it will create 5,000 jobs in Britain over the next five years as part of expansion plans that will greatly increase the number of drive-through outlets.

"Starbucks Coffee UK announced today its intent to create thousands of new jobs as it significantly steps up its drive-thru program following three years of development and strong customer response to the convenience of Starbucks coffee on-the-go," it said in an official statement.

"The move will see 200 new drive-thru stores opened over the next five years and will establish Starbucks as the market leader in this area.

"Combined with openings of conventional stores over the same period, the company expects to create 5,000 new jobs."

The coffee group, which has 9,000 company-owned stores worldwide and more than 8,000 licensed branches in over 50 countries, wants to increase the number of British drive-through outlets from nine to 200 over the next five years.

The company, which currently has 700 stores in Britain, added that it will also open another 100 conventional branches.

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news, which the company added would help address record youth unemployment in Britain.

"I welcome Starbucks' announcement, and I am glad to see continued investment and job creation in the private sector," Cameron said.

"Starbucks' plans to open 300 new stores, creating 5,000 jobs, are a great boost for the British economy and the local communities that will directly benefit from these openings."

Kris Engskov, managing director of Starbucks UK and Ireland, added that the jobs would help boost the labour market at a time of record high youth unemployment.

"It... means that we are able to create quality jobs at a time when they are most needed and because half of our baristas are under 24 years-old, this will particularly benefit young job-seekers at a time of record youth unemployment," Engskov said in a statement.

Gloomy official data showed last month that the number of unemployed 18-24-year-olds in Britain jumped 67,000 to 1.02 million in the three months to September, the highest total since comparable records began 19 years ago.

© 2011 AFP

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