Starbucks Boosts Store Target

The big coffee chain wants to open 30,000 stores worldwide.
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Starbucks

(SBUX) - Get Report

laid out ambitious growth plans at an analyst day Thursday and reaffirmed 2005 earnings targets.

The Seattle-based coffee giant said it now sees an opportunity to open a total of 15,000 stores in the U.S. That's up 50% from the company's previous goal. Starbucks also wants to boost its worldwide store count to 30,000 from the current 8,500. The company said its previous target was 25,000 worldwide stores.

"The market opportunity we will create is even larger than we previously recognized," CEO Orin Smith said in a press release summarizing his remarks at the conference. "Our intention and capacity to take advantage of the market potential has never been greater."

Starbucks also stood by its forecast for 2005 earnings, saying it would make $1.12 to $1.15 next year, according to

Reuters

. Analysts on average forecast $1.16 a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company cited strong growth in average store sales.

"These strong trends can be attributed to an all-time high level of innovation, continued speed-of-service improvements, an expanding customer base and successful new store concepts such as drive-thrus, off-highway and smaller market locations," Jim Donald, who is set to succeed Smith as chief, said. "These trends support our decision to increase Starbucks' long-term store goal."

The stock fell 15 cents to $47.50.