Starbucks back on expansion path in Americas, China


Starbucks Corp plans to increase the number of its cafes in the Americas by more than 20 percent by opening more than 3,000 new shops there in the next five years as it looks to rely on tea and juice as much as coffee, it said on Wednesday.

The world's largest coffee chain is also finished with acquisitions for now, after buying juice seller Evolution Fresh for $30 million and Bay Bread LLC's La Boulange Bakery for $100 million over the last 13 months.

Starbucks also plans to close its $620 million purchase of tea store chain Teavana Holdings Inc by year-end.

The company also announced expansion plans for the China/Asia Pacific region for the next three years.

"We're pretty full up at this time in terms of our resources and capabilities," Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said at Starbucks' investor conference in New York on Wednesday.

"At this moment in time, we have enough to handle."

Food has long been a weak link at Starbucks, which plans to roll out sweet and savory La Boulange pastries and other goodies at 2,500 of its company-operated U.S. shops by the end of next year. Starbucks also expects to have Evolution Fresh juices in more than 5,000 U.S. stores by then.

Evolution Fresh should be slightly accretive in fiscal 2013 and La Boulange will follow in fiscal 2014, Starbucks' Chief Financial Officer Troy Alstead said.

The company also is experimenting with new retail concepts. It has opened four Evolution Fresh juice stores and one Tazo tea shop in the United States, and it plans to add "tea bars" to existing Teavana stores.

The goal at Teavana is to replicate the success the company had adding coffee drinks at its early Starbucks stores, which sold whole bean coffee.

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