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Starbucks rolls out alcohol sales to boost appeal


Getty Images

Getty Images

Getty Images

STARBUCKS, the world's largest coffee-shop chain, will sell beer and wine at more locations to lure customers during the slower afternoon and evening hours.

The chain, which first served alcohol in October 2010 at a Seattle store, will sell beer and wine in as many as 25 locations by the end of this year, the Seattle-based company said in a statement. Stores in Chicago, Atlanta and Southern California are among the new locations, Starbucks said.

The specific stores have been "carefully selected" and are larger and have more seating than regular Starbucks sites, said Clarice Turner, the firm's senior vice president of US operations. Starbucks also is selling fruit and cheese plates and focaccia with olive oil at the stores that serve alcohol, she said.

The move is not the beginning of a roll out of alcohol sales at the coffee giant's Irish cafes, however. The company isn't considering the concept for the whole chain, Mr Turner said.

"It won't be at every Starbucks store ever," she said.

At the six stores that currently sell alcohol in Seattle and Portland, Oregon, beer is $5 (€3.83) and glasses of wine are $7 to $9.

There are more than 10,700 Starbucks cafes in the US and about 6,200 internationally.

Despite the popularity of the Starbucks brand in Ireland the company has struggled here during the bust and closed a number of branches over the past two years. It has, however, opened a number of stores in Dublin recently.

For the 53-week period to October 3, 2010, Starbucks's Irish business posted a €3.28m loss compared to a €1.6m loss the year before. Sales fell €1.9m as the company rolled back its branches here from 23 to 17.

The "underlying business performance was an improvement on the prior year", however.

Founded in 1971 in Seattle, Starbucks quickly grew to dominate the coffee-shop market and became known for the "Starbucks on every corner".

The business began to struggle after long-time chief executive Howard Schultz retired in 2000. He returned in 2008.

Starbucks fell 1.9pc in New York. The shares gained 43pc last year.

Irish Independent