The chief executive of Starbucks has revealed that the coffee shop giant is to more than double its opening of new stores globally over the next year. Howard Schultz, who is also the chairman of the Seattle-based company, said Starbucks planned to open about 500 outlets this financial year, 400 of them outside the US. He added that China would be a key market. He said: "Our ability to navigate through the financial crisis and come out stronger gives us reason to start growing the company again." Starbucks, which has about 17,000 coffee shops in more than 50 countries, cut back its opening programme during the downturn, including in the UK and Europe, but sales have bounced back recently. For the 14 weeks to 3 October, Starbucks delivered record sales, up 17.2 per cent to $2.8bn, driven by underlying sales growth of 8 per cent in the United States and 7 per cent internationally. Its plan to open 500 stores more than doubles the 223 it unveiled in its last financial year to 3 October. It also contrasts sharply with the net 45 it closed in the previous year. The Independent, p54