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January 27, 2012 7:55 pm
For all its international ambitions, Starbucks remains very dependent on the US, where roughly four-fifths of operating income is earned. If the company is to thrive, US profits must expand – despite the fact that there is little room for more stores when every suburb has a Starbucks drive-through. The company has managed this so far, growing US operating income by half since 2007, despite a flat store count. Further gain will be that much harder to find.
Little wonder then that the company is experimenting with one of the only products as profitable as coffee – alcohol – which it is adding to select stores. After booze, though, what’s next? The world might be ready for a Starbucks cigarette. Customers could grab a pack at the drive-through, and smoke in their cars, where it’s still allowed.
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