Starbucks enters Europe

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LONDON -- Starbucks Coffee Company, the Seattle-based coffee shop chain that is expanding rapidly in Asia and the Paci- fic Rim, is making its first foray into Europe with the acquisition of a U.K. company that modeled itself after Starbucks.

The Seattle Coffee Co., started in the U.K. in 1995 by Seattle natives Scott and Ally Svenson, will be integrated into Starbucks International though it will continue to be run by existing management. The 56-strong chain (with plans for another 30 outlets by the end of the year) is being bought for $85 million in stock.

Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz says the acquisition will act as the company's "springboard into the European market." It is the first step in achieving the company's new target of 500 retail locations in Europe by the end of 2003, he says. "Europe," he adds, "has always represented a major strategic opportunity to achieve our goal of creating and building an enduring global brand."

Starbucks also plans for 500 stores in the Pacific Rim and Asia by the end of 2003.

The company currently has 1,636 outlets in North America and the Pacific Rim. In addition, it sells its whole coffee beans through its specialty sales group, direct response business and supermarkets. Starbucks also produces and sells through joint venture partnerships comprising the bottled Frappuccino coffee drink and a range of premium ice creams.

Copyright April 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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