Magnolia Bakery to expand Mideast cupcake empire

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Magnolia Bakery currently has eight locations worldwide, including five in New York and one each in Chicago, Los Angeles and Dubai.

Magnolia Bakery currently has eight locations worldwide, including five in New York and one each in Chicago, Los Angeles and Dubai.

Magnolia Bakery, the New York cupcake maker made famous by the television series Sex and the City, signed deals to open franchises in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Qatar this year, its owners confirmed at the weekend.

The iconic New York City bakery lauded for launching the "cupcake craze," opened its first overseas outlet in Bloomingdales Dubai in 2010. It is planning to ramp up its global expansion and is eyeing 120 stores worldwide over the next five years.

The brand, known for its classic American desserts, will remain focused on its current menu, while developing a few specific items for each culture, Steve Abrams, owner and CEO of Magnolia Bakery, said in an email statement.

The company currently has eight locations worldwide, including five in New York and one each in Chicago, Los Angeles and Dubai.

In addition to the four franchises in the Gulf, the company is planning to open cupcake stores in the UK, Japan, Brazil, Jordan and Morocco.

Cupcakes have seen a revival in recent years, with a string of independently-run bakery chains opening up across the Gulf. In the US, the largest market for the iced treats, sales are forecast to grow 20 percent over the next five years, according to research firm Mintel.

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