By Annie Gasparro
Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) plans to open its first Tazo Tea Store in Seattle this fall, after testing sales of loose-leaf tea in its nearby Roy Street Coffee & Tea store, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The debut of a standalone tea store comes just a few months after Starbucks opened its first noncoffee store--a fresh-juice shop, also in Seattle, through its recent acquisition of Evolution Fresh.
Starbucks says the stores give customers a chance to interact with the brands they will have seen sold as packaged goods in Starbucks cafes and grocery stores. The company has been expanding its packaged-goods line and branching out from its core coffee business a lot lately. It also recently entered the energy-drink sector and is acquiring a bakery.
Starbucks says Tazo, which it bought in 1999, is now a $1.4 billion brand. But there is still a significant opportunity for its growth, given that the tea is a $95 billion global market, the spokeswoman said.
The tea store will sell hot- and iced-tea drinks and tea lattes, and also have a blending station where customers can create their own teas. It will also offer brewing equipment, pastries, packaged chocolates and other related treats.
The news of the store was reported earlier by the Seattle Times.
Starbucks hasn't set prices or disclosed how many stores the company plans to build.
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