(Ian Ritter is national online editor for GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

SEATTLE-Starbucks is increasing its international expansionplans from a target of 15,000 units to 20,000 due to expectedgrowth in various new markets. By the end of the 2007 calendaryear, the coffee giant plans to open its first stores in Brazil,Russia, India and Egypt, giving it a presence in 40 countries.

The news comes after executives revealed last month that theywere increasing this year's opening target from 1,800 coffeehousesto 2,000. Next year 2,400 new units are projected. Starbuckscurrently operates 12,000 stores worldwide.

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