Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq:SBUX) and Bon appetit Group today announced the opening of its first Starbucks store in Zurich, Switzerland.

Located in the heart of Zurich, at Central, Limmatquai 144, the beautifully designed three-level store is also Starbucks first retail location in continental Europe.

The Starbucks store offers a complete menu of Starbucks internationally acclaimed coffee beverages, a selection of more than 12 varieties and blends of the finest arabica coffee beans, freshly baked local pastries and desserts and a selection of coffee brewing accessories.

“Starbucks is extremely proud to open its first store in Switzerland,” said Peter Maslen, president of Starbucks Coffee International. “Our store opening is a celebration of the exciting and strong coffee culture in Switzerland. Together with our outstanding partner, Bon appetit Group, we look forward to sharing with our Swiss customers the unique Starbucks Experience.”

In addition to Switzerland, Starbucks plans to announce its entry into at least six countries in continental Europe in the next 12 to 24 months. As of today, Starbucks has opened more than 170 stores in the United Kingdom, following the opening of its first store in London on September 17, 1998. Starbucks plans to open at least 650 stores in Europe by the end of 2003.

“Our store opening in Switzerland comes at one of the most exciting times in the company’s history,” said Howard Schultz, chairman and chief global strategist of Starbucks Coffee Company. “I could not be more pleased with the overall performance of our company in North America and around the world. I am very enthusiastic about the enormous opportunities for Starbucks in Europe and am confident that we can expect solid growth for years to come.

“As we rapidly grow our presence in continental Europe, we remain highly respectful and mindful of the region’s rich coffee culture and traditions,” said Schultz. “While the response to the Starbucks brand worldwide has been phenomenal, we recognize that our success is not an entitlement. In continental Europe, we will grow our business by earning the trust and respect of our customers every day.”

“The opening of the first Starbucks store in Zurich is a celebration of Starbucks successful and passionate history in enriching the coffee and cafe culture worldwide,” said Beat Curti, founder of Bon appetit Group. “I firmly believe that Starbucks will quickly become part of the daily lives of the Swiss people, who desire the highest quality of coffee in a unique and inviting environment. We are proud to be a partner of Starbucks, with whom we share the same business values and commitment to great coffee and excellent customer service.”

In September 2000, Starbucks Coffee International and Bon appetit Group signed a joint venture agreement to develop Starbucks retail business in Switzerland. The joint venture company, Swiss-Star Limited, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Starbucks in Switzerland.

Bon appetit Group (www.bon-appetit.ch) is Switzerland’s leading listed company in the food trade. Its core businesses are the wholesale and retail trade. The Bon appetit Group also engages in e-commerce with stakes in net-tissimo.com and Le-Shop.ch. In fiscal 2000, the Bon appetit Group posted consolidated sales of CHF 3.322 billion with a workforce of approximately 6,800.

Starbucks Coffee International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Starbucks Coffee Company, the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world. In addition to Switzerland, Starbucks has retail locations in another 20 international markets including Japan, Hawaii, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Malaysia, Beijing, Kuwait, South Korea, Lebanon, Hong Kong, Shanghai, United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Qatar, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.