LOS ANGELES - Starbucks Corp said on Wednesday that its cafes in the United Kingdom and Japan will soon sell its Via instant coffee, which helped boost same-store sales at U.S. outlets in the latest quarter.

Via, which takes aim at established brands such Nestle SA's Nescafe and Kraft Foods Inc's Sanka, will begin being offered in the United Kingdom on March 8 and in Japan on April 14.

The product, which debuted six months ago in the United States and Canada, helped fuel higher fiscal first-quarter sales at U.S. Starbucks restaurants open at least 13 months.

While Via did help the company post its first quarterly rise in U.S. same-store sales in two years, executives said it would be profit neutral for fiscal 2010 due to aggressive marketing spending to support its global launch.

Instant coffee is far more popular in markets outside the United States and investors will be watching to see whether Via can steal market share from established products in the United Kingdom and Japan.