* Plans to add beer, wine at 4-6 cafes in those markets
* Already offers those items in Seattle, Portland
* Expanding alcohol sales to Chicago this year
* Testing beer and wine in Spain
(Adds details of plan, executive quote, reaction)
Jan 23 (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp, which
sells the coffee that helps many Americans get wound up for
their day, is now offering some a way to wind down.
The company plans to begin selling beer and wine in a small
number of cafes in Atlanta and Southern California by the end of
this year as it explores an expansion beyond morning coffee and
Starbucks is planning to add the alcoholic drinks and food
such as savory snacks, cheese plates and hot flatbreads to menus
in four to six outlets in each market.
The world's biggest coffee chain started selling such items
at a neighborhood Seattle cafe in October 2010. Five stores in
the Seattle area and one in Portland, Oregon, now offer the
The company, which already has announced plans to bring the
new items to five to seven Chicago-area cafes by the end of
2012, also is testing wine and beer sales in Spain.
"As our customers transition from work to home, many are
looking for a warm and inviting place to unwind and connect with
the people they care about," Clarice Turner, Starbucks' senior
vice president of U.S. operations, said in a news release.
The company does not expect to sell alcohol in all of its
nearly 11,000 U.S. cafes.
Quick-service restaurant chains in the United States are
adding morning and late-night menus, extending food and drink
options and lengthening operating hours in an effort to boost
Starbucks, Burger King and Sonic Corp
are among the chains experimenting with alcohol sales in the
Seattle-based Starbucks, which is coming off a successful
restructuring, recently has reported some of the industry's
strongest sales trends. Its shares fell about 1.6 percent to
$47.38 in afternoon trading on Monday, but are up more than 40
percent from a year ago.
The company, which already offers breakfast and lunch, hopes
its latest effort will ring up more late afternoon and evening
Such efforts have their critics.
California-based industry watchdog Alcohol Justice has
criticized alcohol sales by Starbucks and fast-food chain Burger
King, which offers beer at its new Whopper Bar restaurants.
Sarah Mart, the group's director of research, said many U.S.
neighborhoods already have plenty of bars, restaurants and
stores that sell alcohol.
"The more places that open, the more risk there is of
alcohol-related harm" such as underage drinking, Mart said.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa
Von Ahn and Tim Dobbyn)
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