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Starbucks Adds Stores in Scandinavia to Spur Europe Sales

Starbucks Corp. will open its first city-center stores in Sweden and Norway next year as the world’s largest coffee-shop operator works to boost sales in Europe.

Starbucks will partner with Norway’s Umoe Restaurant Group AS to open the stores and will increase its locations in airports and train stations, the companies said in a statement yesterday. The number of stores to be opened wasn’t disclosed.

The coffee-shop chain has struggled to boost sales in Europe, a region Chief Financial Officer Troy Alstead said in July was “extremely challenging.” Sales at stores open at least 13 months in Europe, the Middle East and Africa were unchanged in the quarter ended July 1, and Seattle-based Starbucks may begin closing some unprofitable locations in the current quarter, Alstead said at the time.

Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz has sought to turn around the company’s European business with television advertisements and new drink recipes in order to promote demand as governments impose austerity programs on a weakening economy.

Starbucks fell 0.8 percent to $50.10 yesterday in New York. The shares have gained 8.9 percent this year.

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