Image: Dunkin' Donuts
Mikhail Metzel  /  AP
Pedestrians walk outside a new Dunkin' Donuts cafe on Wednesday in Moscow, Russia.
updated 4/28/2010 11:13:47 AM ET 2010-04-28T15:13:47

Dunkin' Donuts is returning to Russia after an 11-year absence with plans to open up to 20 outlets in Moscow this year, the company said Wednesday.

Dunkin' Donuts closed its two Russian shops in 1999 due to flagging sales.

The company's franchisee for Russia and Ukraine, Konstantin Petrov, told reporters that the number of outlets could rise to 50 within five years.

Tony Pavese, chief operating officer for international operations, said changes in the Russian market compared with 1999 have given the company hope.

"The market conditions in Russia have changed quite a bit — and the propensity for coffee and the amount of consumption of coffee that's happened over time."

The opening of Dunkin' Donuts was originally slated for Wednesday, but had to be postponed until May 11 because some packaging hadn't arrived due to the recent international air travel disruptions.

The U.S.-based chain operates more than 15,000 Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins ice cream shops in 44 countries. Baskin-Robbins already operates in 143 locations in Russia.

Dunkin' Donuts' return follows the January opening of the first Burger King outlet, 20 years after rival McDonald's first entered the market.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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