Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf signs deal to open up to 200 stores in Japan

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to expand into Japan with up to 200 stores; the first one is to open by year's end

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is venturing into Japan with up to 200 stores, stepping into a country with a growing taste for a cup of joe.

The Los Angeles beverage chain inked an exclusive deal with a developer called L.A. Style, which intends to launch the first store in Japan by year's end, according to a statement from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

L.A. Style is a joint venture between two Japanese companies: restaurant operator Hotland Co. and shopping mall developer Aeon Mall Co. Counting Japan, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf will be in 25 countries overall.

"It's an exciting time to enter such a prolific coffee market like Japan," said John Dawson, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's chief executive.

The move into Japan is part of efforts by the company to hasten expansion plans after three investment firms -- Advent International, CDIB Capital and Mirae Asset Private Equity -- acquired a significant stake in the company last year. Coffee Bean said in December it planned to expand  domestically and internationally.

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