Starbucks will turn its focus away from the US by opening more stores internationally from 2009 until 2011.

While it aims to open "significantly fewer stores in the US", at around 250 a year, it will ramp up its expansion in other countries. The coffee chain plans to open 1,050 outlets in 2009, 1,150 in 2010 and 1,300 in 2011. It aims to have 21,500 stores in total by the end of the financial year 2011. The strategy will result in Starbucks’ international presence growing from around 30% to more than 40% of its total portfolio.

Speaking as its second-quarter financial results to March 30 were published, chairman Howard Schultz described the 2008 financial year as a "transitional" one for the brand. The company’s total net revenues grew by 27.4% to £493.4m during that time.

Starbucks is also rolling out a range of fresh initiatives in the US market, including a loyalty card scheme and a new custo-mer website.


=== Reporting in ===

== Retail bakers face tough contest on sandwiches ==

== Jim Winship ==

British Sandwich Association

Retail bakers are continuing to struggle to keep up with the ever-changing sandwich market, according to new research published this month by the British Sandwich Association, in partnership with TNS.

In the year to February 2008, the bakery sector saw year-on-year sales grow in value by 1.6% compared to 4.4% for the industry as a whole. Meanwhile, volume sales were down by 1.6% against positive market growth of 1.1%.

One of the reasons for this has been the relentless march forward of Subway, which now has over 1,198 stores (at April) and has overtaken Tesco in both volume and value to become market leader. As Subway’s target market is similar to that of the bakery sector, this can account for some of the shift.

However, research also suggests that, while much of the sandwich industry has seen increasing demand for premium products, bakers have not generally been keeping pace with this so readily. However, there are some positive signs. Indeed, the report particularly highlights Greggs’ new ’Fresh to Go’ store in Lincoln as a possible winning formula for the chain in the future.

Although the sandwich market has slowed considerably since the heady 1990s, when double-digit growth was the norm, commercial sales have now topped the £5 billion mark and look set to continue enjoying healthy times into the future. Although the report says that the industry will need to work harder in the future to maintain growth, consumer demographics alone suggest that the sector should continue to prosper.