Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dunkin' Donuts Eyes More Outlets; Company Plans 50 More Stores in the Area

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dunkin' Donuts Eyes More Outlets; Company Plans 50 More Stores in the Area

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRISTOPHER CALNAN, The Times-Union

The Patriots will leave Jacksonville after the Super Bowl, but another New England icon plans to raise its profile here during the years ahead.

Dunkin' Donuts Inc. out of Canton, Mass., wants to open at least 50 more stores in the Jacksonville area during the next four or five years. Will Kussell, chief operating officer of parent Dunkin' Brands Inc., said Friday the expansion is part of a plan for Dunkin' Donuts to increase its presence in both the Southeast and Midwest.

Florida is the company's fastest-growing market, and the state's Dunkin' Donuts stores are concentrated in South Florida. Kussell wants to expand that into Jacksonville and Tampa.

"We think Jacksonville is the next growth area for us," he said. "We see economic growth, population growth and a familiarity with our brand."

Dunkin' Donuts operates 12 stores in the First Coast. Kussell is in Jacksonville for the Super Bowl and a tour of Florida stores. Dunkin' Donuts, founded in 1950, is one of the Patriots' corporate sponsors.

Dunkin' Donuts' Florida stores reported a 13 percent from September 2004 to January compared with the same period a year ago, the best state performance in the company. About 100 of the company's 300 Florida locations are in the Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach area, Kussell said.

Dunkin' Donuts franchise owners operate 4,400 stores nationally and the company expects to open 500 shops this year. About 80 percent of the stores are in the Northeast corridor between Boston and Baltimore, Kussell said.

Ron Paul, president of Chicago-based food industry research and consulting firm Technomic Inc., said Dunkin' Donuts expanded conservatively while its competitors grew at a faster pace. The company's expansion plans are solid -- and possibly overdue, Paul said.

"In a way, they may be playing catch up instead of getting ahead of themselves," he said. …

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