Not just for the upper crust! Starbucks spends $100million to improve pastries by buying French bakery chain
19:33 GMT, 5 June 2012
Starbucks Corp. is looking to offer a more tempting menu, with a $100 million cash deal to buy a small bakery chain.
The Seattle-based coffee shop chain says baked goods from La Boulange will start replacing its current lineup early next year, starting with French pastries such as the croissant.
Products will start appearing in Bay Area stores first then roll out nationally.
Expansion: Starbucks has spent $100million in its acquisition of La Boulange bakery in a bid to improve its food menu starting with French-style pastries
Starbucks also says it plans to make the San Francisco-area bakery into a national presence in the years ahead.
'We'll take it one store at a time, starting in metropolitan areas around the U.S. where there's demand,' said Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks Americas.
Food has become an important part of Starbucks' revenue stream in recent years, with the segment now generating $1.5 billion a year. About a third of the purchases in its U.S. locations include a food item.
La Boulange, which also serves salads and sandwiches in a casual sit-down setting, has 19 locations in the Bay Area. The chain is being sold to Starbucks by Next World Group, a privately held investment firm based in San Francisco.
As Starbucks faces increasing competition from fast-food chains serving specialty coffees, the company has increased its profits through an expanding mix of consumer products, such as its ice cream and Tazo-branded K-Cup portion packs.
The La Boulange deal could eventually feed into that mix.
Local joint: La Boulange, which also serves salads and sandwiches in a casual sit-down setting, has 19 locations in the Bay Area
This holiday season Starbucks plans to sell a single-cup coffee machine called Verismo that lets people brew lattes and other drinks at home.
And moving beyond its iconic cafes, the company earlier this year announced plans to open its first Evolution Fresh Inc. juice store.
Additionally, the deal positions
Starbucks to enter a fast-growing segment of the restaurant industry
currently dominated by Panera Bread Co., which offers freshly baked
bread, sandwiches and salads in a sit-down setting for slightly higher
prices than most fast-food chains.
St. Louis-based Panera has about 1,500
locations, up from about 1,000 five years ago. Sales have grown by
73per cent over that same time, according to food industry researcher
acquisition of La Boulange, Starbucks says it hopes to popularize the
French bakery experience in the U.S. the same way it brought the
experience of the Italian espresso bar to the masses.
Bonjour! A French croissant from the San Francisco bakery chain will be among the first items on the menu as Starbucks rolls out its new venture
Mmmm: Starbucks is also planning to expand the brand with the launch of a new juice bar called Evolution Fesh Inc.
'After more than 40 years, we will be able to say that we are bakers too,' CEO Howard Schultz said in a statement.
The acquisition of Bay Bread LLC, the parent company of La Boulange, is expected to close in Starbucks' fiscal fourth quarter and dilute the company's earnings by 2 cents per share in the second half of the fiscal year. For the full year, Starbucks has said it expects earnings per share to be between $1.81 and $1.84.
Starbucks shares rose $1.75, or 3.4per cent, to close at $53.90. They fell $1.40 or 2.6per cent in after-hours trading following the announcement of the La Boulange deal.