Starbucks brings coffee bar chic to continental Europe

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DUESSELDORF--Seattle, Washington-based gourmet coffee retailer Starbucks Corp. is expanding its global retail coffee business with a major push into continental Europe. The move follows a joint venture agreement with Swiss catering company Passaggio Holding.

The joint company, Swiss-Star Holding, expects to open between 10 and 15 Starbucks coffee shops by March 2001 in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The long-term target is 140 shops.

Effact, Zurich, Passaggio's house agency, will handle initial advertising.

Starbucks offers a varied menu of coffee drinks ranging from expressos and capuccinos to variants with special aromas, tea, chocolate, frappaccinos and iced coffee. The shops also offer various blends, coffee beans, brewing equipment, chocolate and cookies.

Switzerland will be a test-market for other major markets such as France, Italy and Germany. Starbucks is already present in the U.K., where it already has 150 shops. The U.S. retailer has a total 3,300 outlets worldwide, including 300 in Asia.

Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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