Starbucks buys Italian bakery to boost food offering

Starbucks, increasingly counting on food sales to help maintain growth, has announced plans to invest in an Italian bakery business, which it intends to expand with new locations.

The world’s biggest coffee-shop chain is buying a stake in Princi, which sells pastries, pizza and pasta in Europe, according to a statement.

Starbucks will also act as a global licensee of the Italian company, helping it to expand globally. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Princi goods will be sold in Starbucks’ new Roastery locations opening in Shanghai next year and New York in 2018, as well as another location that hasn’t yet been disclosed.

Starbucks also may open a Princi-branded shop in its hometown of Seattle next year. Princi currently has four locations in Italy and one in London.

“I can think of no better pairing and am excited by the possibilities we envision in Princi food elevating everyday — breakfast, lunch and dinner — in Starbucks Roasteries and Reserve Stores,” Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said in the statement.

Starbucks has been trying to upgrade its food to attract more diners and maintain sales growth. In 2012, it bought Bay Bread for $100m, giving it access to the higher-quality La Boulange brand of croissants and scones.

The Seattle-based chain plans to continue selling La Boulange at its cafe locations in the US and Canada.

The Princi partnership will bring baking inside Starbucks locations for the first time.


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