Starbucks is planning its biggest programme of store openings in Britain next year as it looks to allay fears of a slowdown in the United States by accelerating its expansion overseas. The Times

Howard Schultz, the group’s founder and chairman, said that at least 100 outlets would open across the UK and Ireland in 2008 – 25% more than this year – taking the total to 725.

He added that he believed that the British coffee shop market – already worth more than £1.3bn – was still in its infancy, with far more growth to come.

Starbucks recently began a trial running outlets in nine Tesco supermarkets and plans to roll out more if the concept is a success.