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Dec 19, 2007 14:09 EEST
SOFIA (Bulgaria), December 19 (SeeNews) – U.S. coffee chain Starbucks on Wednesday said it plans to enter Bulgaria in 2008 as part of its strategy to expand worldwide.
Starbucks has extended its existing joint venture agreement with Athens-based Marinopoulos Group to open stores in the European Union newcomer, and the first will open in the capital city of Sofia in 2008, the coffee chain said in a statement to the U.S. electronic stock market NASDAQ where it is listed.
"Extending the reach of our agreements with established business partners gives us the capability to gain leverage," Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in the statement.
Starbucks' five year partnership with Marinopoulos Group already spans five markets including Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Switzerland and Austria.
The company has also broadened its agreement with Spanish joint venture partner Grupo VIPS to open stores in Portugal, the statement added. The first store is expected to open in Lisbon next year. The joint venture relationship of more than five years with Madrid-based Grupo VIPS already covers two markets including Spain and France.
Starbucks Coffee Company (www.starbucks.com), set up in 1971, operates 6,793 stores and gave licences to 3,891 stores in the USA. The company operates 1,712 stores and is involved in another 3,891 through joint ventures or licences in 42 countries worldwide. The company plans to develop its presence within Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
In the fiscal year 2007 ended on September 30, Starbucks increased its consolidated net revenues by 21% on the year to $9.4 billion (6.5 billion euro).
Various domestic and international consumer companies plan to expand their networks in Bulgaria over the next few years to take advantage of the growing incomes of the 7.7 million population after the EU accession in January. These include domestic chain of ice-cream parlours and coffee shops Jimmy's, coffee chains Costa Coffee, part of leisure group Whitbread, international Coffeeheaven, and Bulgarian coffee shop chain Onda Coffee Break, whose biggest shareholder is Greek fund manager Global Finance.
($= 0.6944 euro)
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