Starbucks inks 150-unit European deal

SEATTLE Starbucks Corp. has licensed rights to develop 150 cafes in Europe to travel concessionaire SSP, the parties announced Thursday morning. The deal calls for the stores to be developed in airports and rail stations during the next three years.

The agreement grants SSP the rights to “a number of significant markets” for Starbucks, including the United Kingdom, Germany and France, Starbucks said.

“This collaboration aligns with our strategy to accelerate growth in our international business,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, chief executive and president of the coffee company. The Starbucks chain currently consists of 16,000 stores in 45 nations. Schultz has cited stepped-up international expansion as a key component of his plan to turn around the system, which has been suffering a slowdown in traffic at domestic stores.

United Kingdom-based SSP operates the foodservice concessions of travel facilities in 29 countries, including the United States. Among the brands it operates are Dunkin’ Donuts, Robert’s Coffee, Burger King, Einstein Bros. and KFC.