Sara Lee Considers Online Sales of Nespresso-Compatible Coffee

Sara Lee Corp. is considering online sales of capsules that are compatible with Nestle SA’s Nespresso machines, a spokesman for the Douwe Egberts coffeemaker said.

“It’s one of the logical next steps that we’re looking into,” Ernesto Duran, a Sara Lee spokesman in Utrecht, the Netherlands, said today. “I’m not saying it’ll happen immediately.”

Sara Lee began selling Nespresso-compatible coffee in France in April and in the Netherlands this month. The Downers Grove, Illinois-based company has sold more than 90 million capsules so far and plans further geographical expansion, Duran said.

Nestle, the world’s largest food company, this year faced its first competition from pre-filled capsules that are compatible with its coffee machines as Sara Lee and Ethical Coffee SA introduced rival offers. Nespresso has been Nestle’s fastest-growing major brand worldwide over the past decade. The coffee, which is sold only through Nestle-controlled shops and concessions, costs as much as 10 times unground espresso beans at Swiss supermarkets.

French consumers have expectations to buy such products online, Duran said, declining to say where Sara Lee will start with online sales. Sara Lee’s French retail coffee market share is about 3 percent, he said.

Denner SA, a Swiss supermarket chain owned by Migros, said today it’s starting to sell coffee capsules that are compatible with Nespresso machines.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Mulier in Geneva at tmulier@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net.

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