Starbucks tries local touch to lift growth in Europe

SEATTLE –  Wed Mar 7: Starbucks Corp., the world’s biggest coffee chain, is hoping to boost growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa by opening so-called concept stores that tailor products and cafe interiors to local tastes, a senior manager told Reuters.

Starbucks will open between five and 10 such stores in the region this year, Rich Nelsen, senior vice president for Starbucks’ Europe, the Middle East and Africa business, said in an interview.

Those cafes will test new products, such as fresh-baked pastries, as well as exclusive coffees from small-scale farms, “If these new products and the other concepts we test here work, we will expand these to other countries,” he said.

On Friday, Starbucks will open its first European concept store in Amsterdam, followed by one in Kuwait later this year.

Concept stores test new Starbucks products and sales ideas while their design and interior are inspired by the particular city and country where they are located.

The store in Amsterdam will be its biggest in Europe at 430 square meters. Apart from its larger size and assortment with 16 new food products that are only sold here, the new concept store stands out because of its design.

Located in a former bank building, it will have locally sourced secondhand furniture and feature typical Dutch touches, such as stools resembling bike saddles and traditional Dutch blue and white tiles.