Dunkin’ Donuts to Enter U.K. With a Start in East London

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., the owner of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and doughnut shops, plans to expand the chain into the U.K. with as many as 150 stores in five years.

The company, which already operates 100 Baskin Robbins ice cream parlors in the U.K., signed franchise agreements with Court Group and DDMG Ltd, and each plans to open 25 stores in East London. Dunkin’ is in advanced discussions with other investors for the balance of the U.K. stores, the company said in a statement.

Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ has been focused on expanding the chain outside the U.S. to keep pace with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., and Starbucks Corp., which has about 750 locations in the U.K. DDMG is led by existing franchisees from Baltimore and Philadelphia.

“There is significant opportunity for Dunkin’ Donuts in the U.K., and we have had a tremendous response from potential franchisees interested in developing the brand across the country,” Dunkin’ Brands International President Giorgio Minardi said in the statement.

Dunkin’ is opening more locations in Europe as it sees the region bouncing back from recession, Chief Executive Officer Nigel Travis said in August. The chain intends to boost its presence in Germany to 150 Dunkin’ Donut shops within five years and is planning to introduce its colorful ice cream stores there as well.

Dunkin’ said last year that it would add 80 Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlors in the U.K. by 2015. It has more than 10,500 restaurants in 31 countries, including Bulgaria, Russia and Spain.

Dunkin’ Brands rose 87 cents or 2 percent to $44.63 at the close in New York. The shares are 35 percent higher so far this year, outpacing the Nasdaq’s 23 percent rise in the same period.

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