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Starbucks taking new path to grocery growth

Starbucks Corp., the world’s largest coffee-shop operator, plans to buy companies to build up its grocery business, Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said.

Starbucks Corp., the world’s largest coffee-shop operator, plans to buy companies to build up its grocery business, Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said.

The Seattle-based company will look at purchases “large and small,” Schultz said yesterday at an event in New York.

Starbucks has introduced its Via single-serve coffee product in more locations as Schultz, 57, aims to get a bigger percentage of sales from grocery stores. Last month, Starbucks decided to scrap a 12-year, packaged-coffee distribution agreement with Kraft Foods Inc., which is fighting Starbucks’s efforts with arbitration proceedings.

“There’s no question inorganic growth will be a bigger part of our next 10 years than it has been of our previous 10 years,” Chief Financial Officer Troy Alstead said during the event.

Starbucks profit almost doubled last quarter, helped by increasing Via sales and foot traffic in stores. Sales climbed about 10 percent in the year ended Oct. 3, topping $10 billion.

Starbucks shares had gained 33 percent this year through Tuesday.

 
 
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