Following its successful entry into Switzerland earlier this year, Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq:SBUX) and its Swiss partner, the Bon appetit Group AG, today announced the signing of a joint venture agreement to open Starbucks stores in Austria. The first Starbucks store is scheduled to open in Vienna by the end of this year.

“We are extremely pleased to be entering the Austrian market with the Bon appetit Group AG,” said Peter Maslen, president of Starbucks Coffee International. “Our earlier than expected entry into Austria has been largely influenced by the better than expected performance of our stores in Zurich, Switzerland. We believe Swiss consumers have truly embraced the Starbucks Experience.”

“Our Swiss joint venture has done an exceptional job in establishing Starbucks as a leader in these early days of our growth cycle in the market,” added Maslen. “The enthusiastic acceptance of the Starbucks brand not only in Switzerland, but also in all of our international markets has bolstered our confidence in accelerating our expansion worldwide.”

Starbucks opened its first continental European store in Zurich, Switzerland, on March 8, 2001. Currently, Starbucks has three stores in Zurich, with plans to open another 10 to 15 stores in the next 12 to 18 months. In addition to Zurich, Starbucks plans to open stores in other major cities in Switzerland.

“We take great pride in extending our partnership with Starbucks into the Austrian market,” said Mario Fontana, chairman of the board, Bon appetit Group. “I firmly believe that our partnership represents a perfect opportunity for us to accelerate the growth of the Starbucks brand in both Austria and Switzerland.”

Bon appetit Group ( is Switzerland’s leading listed company in the food trade. Its core business is food retailing and services for caterers and retailers. The Bon appetit Group also engages in e-commerce. In 2000, the company posted consolidated sales of CHF 3.321 billion with a workforce of approximately 7,300.

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Starbucks Coffee International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Starbucks Coffee Company, the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world, with more than 4,300 retail locations in North America, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim.