Starbucks, marking the official celebration of its 40th anniversary today, began the rollout of its new logo and launched a lineup of new products that customers can sample for free later this week.
The Seattle-based company’s stock also climbed Monday in response to analyst upgrades following investor meetings at which Starbucks officials outlined a previously announced blueprint to transform the retail chain to a more multi-channel, multi-national brand.
Howard Schultz, Starbucks chief executive, chairman and president, for months has been hinting the coffeehouse brand will expand its consumer-packaged goods on a global scale in a move that could include acquisitions “large and small.”
Schultz on Monday reportedly said such acquisitions might occur within the next 12 to 18 months.
The company also remains focused on building unit sales within its 17,000 coffeehouses globally, wrote analyst Sharon Zackfia of William Blair & Co. on Monday.
Zackfia wrote that Starbucks management at a recent investor meeting had projected increasing unit sales by improving throughput during peak hours as well as the planned introduction of new products that will build afternoon and evening daypart sales.
Starbucks plans to introduce products that use warming ovens, for example, and the coffeehouse chain sees tea as a small but fast-growing category with a better daypart mix, she wrote.
The analyst also predicted that Starbucks would continue to tweak menu prices. Having successfully completed its planned breakup with licensing partner Kraft Foods, Starbucks’ packaged coffees also are expected to increase in price, Zackfia said.
International growth is expected to accelerate from 400 locations scheduled to open in 2011. Currently, almost half of Starbucks’ 5,700 international locations are in three markets: Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom, with the rest spread across 50 countries, Zackfia said.
Starbucks officials expect China to become the second-largest market over time.
“Currently, China remains very healthy, with double-digit comps and mature unit-level returns that exceed those of the United States,” Zackfia wrote.
On Tuesday, the company said its iconic white cups and promotional merchandise will begin carrying the previously announced new logo, which features a more modern take on the Starbucks Siren.
In addition to the company headquarters in Seattle, four storefronts on Tuesday were scheduled to be the first to display the new logo: in Beijing, Paris, London and Times Square in New York.
New products scheduled to debut Tuesday include:
• Starbucks Petites, which include a line of eight treats, each with less than 200 calories and priced at a recommended $1.50.
Among them is a cake pop, featuring various flavors of cake dipped in chocolate and served on a stick. Flavors include vanilla “birthday cake” dipped in pink chocolate and topped with white sprinkles; “rocky road,” with chocolate cake dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in mini marshmallows and roasted almonds; and “tiramisu” with vanilla cake and coffee icing dipped in mocha chocolate and topped with a chocolate coffee bean.
The Petites line also includes mini red-velvet whoopee pies with cream cheese frosting; peanut butter- or carrot cake-flavored mini cupcakes; and lemon or salty caramel bar cookie-style “sweet squares.”
Starbucks said free samples of the Petites line will be available with the purchase of a beverage from March 10 through March 12 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at participating stores across the United States and Canada.
• Cocoa Cappuccino, served hot or over ice, featuring “caramelly espresso,” bittersweet mocha sauce, steamed milk and a layer of foam.
• A new Starbucks Tribute Blend of packaged coffee, which is also available in the company’s instant Via Ready Brew version.
Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].