Starbucks to Sell Beer and Wine

I see that coffee giant Starbucks is to start selling beer and wine. The are trying to entince online shoppers back into stores by offering alcohol and more food options on the high street. It seems that Starbucks plan to add about $1bn to sales by creating evening menus, which will add beer, wine, and evening snacks to thousands of cafes, expand lunch options and roll out mobile ordering. The moves are part of the world's biggest coffee chain's plan to broaden its appeal as a destination with consumers who are spending more time shopping online rather than on high streets.

The company plans to double US food revenues to more than $4bn within five years by expanding food choices at nearly 3,000 of its 11,900 cafes in the US. The company will also launch a mobile ordering and payment system that it says will make getting coffee even more convenient. The technology will underpin deliveries in select US markets next year. Starbucks' US-dominated Americas unit saw traffic rise 1% in the latest quarter, compared with a 5% jump in the same period last year. An increase in sales of food, such as croissants and breakfast sandwiches, helped offset slowing traffic.

Howard Schultz, chief executive, in January warned that a "seismic" shift to online shopping was taking a bite out of holiday traffic to many US brick-and-mortar stores. That, executives said, contributed to a moderate slowdown in traffic in December 2013. Some experts said the trend may be intensifying, pointing to the more than 6pc drop in spending at US stores over the important Thanksgiving weekend.

Traffic softened earlier this year and the weakness is expected to continue through the holiday season, said Steven Barr, who leads PwC's US retail and consumer practice. "There are clearly fewer people out," Mr Barr said.  Starbucks' growth goals aren't focused only on the US, however, as it plans to double its China cafe count to 3,000 by 2019.

As for the UK, we will just have to wait and see, but normally what happens in the US is usually quickly replicated in the UK!

A brandy with that latte, Sir?


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