U.S. coffee retailer Starbucks Corp is to create 5,000 new jobs in Britain over the next five years as it plans to open 200 new drive-thru stores to meet demand for coffee on the go combined with a number of new conventional store openings.

The group currently has nine drive-thru stores in Britain with the first opening in Cardiff in 2008, and it said on Thursday that the step up in the opening programme follows strong customer response and will establish the company as the market leader in this area.

I welcome Starbucks' announcement, and I am glad to see continued investment and job creation in the private sector, said Prime Minister David Cameron in a statement.

Kris Engskov, managing director of Starbucks UK & Ireland, said, We are able to create quality jobs at a time when they are most needed and because half of our baristas are under 24 years-old, this will particularly benefit young job-seekers at a time of record youth unemployment.

(Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)