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Starbucks Pushes Further Into Grocery With Seattle’s Best

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Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Starbucks Corp.’s Seattle’s Best brand is adding new packaged coffee varieties with revamped bag designs as it focuses on boosting sales at grocery stores.

The company is “investing heavily” in the supermarket and retail store side of the business, Jennifer Dimaris, vice president of brand management at Seattle’s Best, said in a telephone interview. Seattle’s Best this year will sell house and breakfast blends of packaged coffees, replacing its levels one and two varieties, after the lighter roasts and number ranking system didn’t resonate with all customers.

“With one big screaming, declaring number in many different colors, you could mistake it for not being coffee,” Dimaris said. “We had to bring back a nod to coffee.”

The new packages, which are rolling out now across the U.S., are more subdued with browns and greens instead of neon colors. The house blend bag says “Born In Seattle” and has a drawing of a coffee mug. Seattle’s Best single-cup Keurig pods, as well as new instant latte mixes, also are being introduced at grocery and mass retail stores.

Starbucks has sought to sell more items through supermarkets and big-box stores to help boost sales and profit. The Seattle-based company’s channel-development business, which includes grocery and food-service sales, made up about 9.5 percent of its $14.9 billion revenue in the year ended in September.

Starbucks bought Seattle’s Best in 2003. Starbucks shares jumped 46 percent last year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 30 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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