Dunkin’ Donuts Set For U.K. Return

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Dunkin’ Donuts left the U.K. in the mid-nineties, but is planning a return to Blighty in the coming years, according to a company statement today. This is not, by any means, the first time that Dunkin’ has pulled up stakes in a market only to return years later.

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts’ announcement

Earlier this year, Dunkin’ announced that it would return to California after a decade-long absence. Dunkin’ never had a tremendously strong presence there, but is making a big push into this huge market. The first location is set to open somewhere in Orange County in 2015, with Dunkin’ expected to open 150 additional locations before 2020.

Russia marks another country that saw Dunkin’ Donuts retreat, only to return. The company suffered from low sales and a lone franchisee who also determined that meat pies and—being Russia—vodka should also be sold off menu. In addition to Russia, Dunkin’ also has stores in Spain, Bulgaria, and Germany.

The Dunkin’ Donuts of today is not reminiscent of the Dunkin’ that left the UK in the first place. They have largely become a purveyor of coffee and sandwiches rather than donuts, and expects big things when it returns to London.

Giorgio Minardi on Dunkin’s success

“We feel 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,” President of Dunkin’ Brands International Giorgio Minardi said in prepared remarks.

To begin with, Dunkin’ will focus on East London. The Canton, Massachusetts-based company has already signed franchise deals with Court Group and DDMG Ltd, and each plans to open 25 stores. Dunkin’ hopes to see 150 locations in the United Kingdom within five years and is in advanced discussions with other investors for the balance of the U.K. stores.

Dunkin’ Donuts clearly believes that Europe’s troubles are coming to a close, but is also sticking to expansions in England and Germany for now. Both Starbucks and Krispy Kreme are already operating in the U.K. and will provide competition the moment the stores are opened.

Dunkin’ Brands rose 84 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $44.60 at 10:11 a.m. in New York trading. The shares are 34 percent higher so far this year, outpacing the Nasdaq’s 23 percent rise for the year.

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