Starbucks, the global coffee shop chain, has made its first foray into baking – with the acquisition of the US-based Bay Bread and its La Boulange bakery brand for $100m.

The group has also hired Bay Bread’s owner, French baker Pascal Rigo, in a bid to up the ante in its bakery offering.

The company said it hoped the move “will bring the artistry of the French bakery to the marketplace in a similar way that Starbucks brought the romance of the Italian espresso bar to many North American coffee consumers for the first time”.

Starbucks said it planned to accelerate the expansion of the company’s retail footprint over time in key US cities to further build a differentiated brand and customer experience unique to the premium retail bakery café category.

It made no reference of the brand moving to other parts of the world, such as the UK, Europe or Asia.

Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks, said. “In La Boulange bakery and Pascal, we’ve found a company and a culinary artist who share our passion for creating premium products, reinventing and elevating an entire product category, and delivering the best customer experience. We looked at opportunities comprehensively when making this acquisition and we believe La Boulange is truly unique in terms of visionary leadership, product taste and quality, brand authenticity, bakery capabilities and potential for growth.”