Starbucks expanding in Latin America

by Eric Schroeder
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SEATTLE — More lattes are headed to Latin America after Starbucks Coffee Co. revealed new store plans for Colombia, Bolivia and Panama. The Seattle-based company plans to expand in Latin America over the course of the next year through licensed agreements with longtime business partners.

“Starbucks relationship with Latin America dates back to 1971 when we began buying coffee from the region,” said Cliff Burrows, group president of Starbucks Americas, U.S. and Teavana. “Today we source more than half of our coffee from Latin American countries. We see significant opportunity to grow our retail presence beyond the more than 740 stores and 10,000 partners we currently have in 12 countries in the region in a way that will continue to celebrate the region’s rich coffee heritage while also deepening our relationships with each of the communities we serve.”

Starbucks said it is on track to open its first cafe in Colombia in Bogota in mid-summer 2014 through a joint venture between two long-term business partners in the Latin America region: Alsea and Grupo Nutresa. Over the next five years, the joint venture plans to expand aggressively in Bogota and to other major cities in Colombia, Starbucks said.

Starbucks and Alsea have been partners for more than 11 years in the region and currently operate more than 500 Starbucks stores in Mexico, Argentina and Chile.

Meanwhile, Colcafe, a subsidiary of Grupo Nutresa, worked with Starbucks to create Starbucks Via Ready Brew soluble coffee and continues to be an innovative, strategic partner in manufacturing and retail. Starbucks said it’s expanding its partnership with Colcafe to offer customers locally sourced and roasted espresso, drip and packaged Colombian coffee at Starbucks stores in Colombia.

Following the Colombia opening later in 2014, Delosi, Starbucks longtime business partner in the Andean region, plans to open Starbucks first store in Bolivia in the commercial center of Santa Cruz through its subsidiary Delosur. Delosi currently operates 71 restaurants in the Andean region. Starbucks and Delosi see an opportunity to add up to 10 stores in Bolivia over the next several years.

Finally, in early 2015, Corporación de Franquicias Americanas (CFA), Starbucks’ longtime Central America business partner, will open Starbucks first store in Panama. Currently, CFA operates more than 500 restaurants in Mexico and Central America. With Starbucks, CFA operates 5 stores in El Salvador, 4 stores in Costa Rica and 4 stores in Guatemala. Over the long term, Starbucks and CFA plan to open more than 20 stores in Panama.
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