OPERATIONS

Starbucks expands in Southeast Asia

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle — Starbucks Coffee Company is opening its first store in Brunei, the company’s 64th global market, and its 100th store in Singapore, which will give people with autism the opportunity for employment and skills.

“The Starbucks China and Asia Pacific region continues to be at the forefront of the company’s global expansion initiatives, and we continue to be humbled by the warm reception we receive from our customers,” said John Culver, group president, Starbucks Coffee China and Asia Pacific, Channel Development and Emerging Brands.

Starbucks will open its first store in Brunei on Feb. 16 at Mabohai Mall. The first Brunei Starbucks store has been designed to reflect Starbucks 43-year coffee heritage, while embracing the country’s distinctive local traditions and culture. Key features in this magnificent space include a “slow bar” which serves coffee, using the traditional Pour-Over brewing method, and a floor-to-ceiling glass window. In addition, this store features locally-sourced furnishings, including traditional baskets from the local markets which have been repurposed as decorative artwork within the store.

In addition, Starbucks’ nearly decade-long alliance with the Autism Resource Center (Singapore) provides an opportunity for members of the community to receive the necessary job training and support that enable people with autism to join the workforce and lead more independent lifestyles. At the time of the 100th store opening in Singapore, six partners with autism have been hired to work at the store, with the goal to expand the relationship with the Autism Resource Center in the coming years.

The company is on track to expand its footprint by adding approximately 750 stores across Starbucks China and Asia Pacific region in 2014. Southeast Asia will play a significant role in this growth, driven both within existing markets, including Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, as well as new markets such as Brunei.

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FINANCE

Sobey’s to sell 30 Canadian stores for $391 million

BY Dan Berthiaume

Stellarton, Canada — Sobey’s Inc. has entered binding purchase and sale agreements with Overwaitea Food Group and Federated Co-operatives Limited that will see Sobeys sell 22 of the 23 stores it is required to divest as part of its consent agreement with the Competition Bureau related to its purchase of Canada Safeway.

In addition, Sobeys has signed a binding letter of intent with Federated for the sale of its Price Chopper location in Winnipeg, which the company is also required to divest as part of its October consent agreement.

Through the negotiation of these transactions, Sobeys also agreed to include an additional seven stores in British Columbia in the package to be acquired by Overwaitea. This was done to create a divestiture package that meets the needs of both Sobeys and Overwaitea.

Proceeds of about $391 million will be used to repay bank debt. The total annual sales from these stores are approximately $627 million. Both agreements have received approval from the Competition Bureau and Sobeys anticipates the deals will close in March or early April 2014. The sale of the Price Chopper location remains subject to finalization of an asset purchase agreement with the purchaser and approval from the Competition Bureau.

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OPERATIONS

Walgreens offers daily health testing at Calif. stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Deerfield Park, Ill. — Walgreens is now offering daily testing for cholesterol, blood glucose and body composition at nearly 200 stores in California. Each test also includes a free blood pressure reading and personal consultation with a Walgreens pharmacist.

“Providing convenient, affordable access to health testing services is an important part of our commitment to disease prevention and chronic care management,” said Hayley Park, market pharmacy director, Walgreens. “As the most accessible health care providers, our pharmacists are spending more time with patients through consultations, immunizations, medication questions or concerns, health testing and other important services to help our customers get, stay and live well.”

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