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Starbucks to Distribute Coffee to Grocery Stores in Canada

TORONTO - Starbucks Coffee Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of Starbucks Corp., said yesterday it had signed an agreement with Crossmark Canada, Inc. to distribute Starbucks whole-bean and ground coffee to Canadian grocery stores.

"The launch of this partnership is significant because it marks a new era of convenience for Starbucks customers in Canada," said James Peters, director, Business Alliances at Starbucks Coffee Canada, in a statement. "Extending the Starbucks brand into the grocery channel will allow Starbucks to reach not only our current customers, but also new customers who have not yet enjoyed the Starbucks experience."

Peters told Progressive Grocer: "The launch is immediate, and we will be expanding the program over the coming months. Retailers order the product directly through Crossmark. Crossmark ships and delivers to retailers' warehouses." He added that Starbucks had been speaking with retailers across the country and had received commitments from the following: in British Columbia, Thrifty Foods, Safeway, London Drugs, IGA, Shoppers Drug Mart (early September), and Overwaitea; on the Prairies, Safeway, London Drugs, Calgary Coop, Federated Coop, Sobeys, IGA, and Shoppers Drug Mart (early September); in Ontario, Sobeys Ontario, Brunos, Kitchen Table, Loeb, Longos (Aug. 30), Highland Farms (Aug. 30), and Shoppers Drug Mart (early September), and Lumsden (early September); and in Atlantic Canada, Coleman and Shoppers Drug Mart (early September).

Starbucks is offering both whole-bean and ground coffee, including House Blend, Breakfast Blend, Colombian, Espresso, Sumatra, French Roast, CaffeVerona, and Decaf House Blend.

"Canadian coffee consumers have been anxiously waiting for the opportunity to bring home the Starbucks experience by purchasing Starbucks specialty coffee from their local grocery stores," noted Crossmark s.v.p. Brian Carley in a statement. "Through this partnership we are able to offer retailers a chance to diversify their current coffee bean offering and provide extra convenience to their customers as they do their grocery shopping."

Starbucks coffee has been available through the grocery channel across the United States since 1998. In 1996 Starbucks, partnering with Pepsi-Cola Co., launched the bottled Starbucks Frappuccino coffee drink. Starbucks bottled Frappuccino and Starbucks DoubleShot coffee drinks currently have almost a 90 percent share of the U.S. ready-to-drink coffee market. Frappucino can be purchased in Canada, as well.

-- Bridget Goldschmidt
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