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Coffee City

Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.

December 8, 2010 at 4:53 PM

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Howard Schultz's end-of-year letter to employees: Dec. 2 saw record whole-bean sales in Starbucks stores

Posted by Melissa Allison

The whole-bean sales record comes just a week after Starbucks outlined a new strategy to investors, which features more whole-bean sales in grocery stores. Update: Starbucks spokeswoman Stacey Krum wrote to say the whole-bean record was just in Starbucks stores, not grocery stores.

To: All Starbucks partners
Date: December 8, 2010
Re: End of Year Thank You from Howard Schultz

Dear partners,

As 2010 comes to a close, I want to take a moment to wish you and your family a happy holiday season as well as share my thoughts as we end what has been a momentous year for our company.

As many of you know, last week was our biennial Investor Conference in New York. Members of the Leadership Team and I presented, with sincere confidence and optimism, an overview of our business and our vision for the future, which included our Blueprint for Profitable Growth. Our more diversified, multi-channel and multi-brand business model was extremely well received, as reflected in the rise in the stock price and many analyst notes, which further emphasized our global growth opportunities.

Following the conference, John Culver and I flew to Mexico where we celebrated the opening of our 300th store, eight years after we opened our first store in Mexico City. The leadership team and I have traveled around the globe these past few months, and the progress that our International business has made in 2010 as it brought new discipline, ideas and leadership to local markets and delivered record performance, speaks volumes about the efforts of so many partners around the world.

The company is wrapping up the calendar year on a high note. Although still early, the Holiday promotion is going strong. Christmas Blend in both whole bean and Starbucks VIAŽ are extremely popular with our customers. In fact, day two of our 12 Days of Sharing, December 2, was our single highest day for whole-bean coffee sales in our history--a testament to the delicious blend our Coffee team and roasting plants crafted this year, and the marketing teams that bring the coffees the attention they deserve.

In stores, amidst the flurry of the season, our partners continue to embrace the new POS system, which thanks to our IT team is on track to be deployed in 100 percent of our U.S. stores by December's end. Also this month, the Global Responsibility team announced a significant milestone in our cup recycling efforts with a promising test that brings us closer to our goal of having 100 percent of our cups reusable or recyclable by 2015. Elsewhere, our Supply Chain continues to deliver its best service ever to stores and customers, and Seattle's Best Coffee just unveiled its exciting new coffee bar concept inside Walmart, just the beginning of its innovative brand expansion plans. Finally, if you have not had a chance to visit the beautifully designed Olive Way store on Capitol Hill, I encourage you to do so. It's truly a memorable experience. Throughout the company we are firing on all cylinders; there is so much to be proud of.

As one financial industry analyst observed after the New York conference, "What a difference two years makes." This statement should remind us all what's possible when we work hard, take risks and stay true to our values. Yes, a lot can happen in a matter of months, which is why, in addition to celebrating our achievements, we should not bask in them. As I've always said that there is no finish line. We must continue to earn our success every day, especially in the challenging economic environment that I believe we'll continue to experience in 2011, in the U.S. and abroad. As we saw this week, unemployment is up. Meanwhile, coffee prices continue to rise. And with consumer confidence so fragile, we cannot take our relationships with our customers for granted.

The lessons learned from the Transformation must continue to guide our execution. Let's resolve to remain highly disciplined and humble in all of our activities. To be cost conscious and thoughtful in every interaction, recognizing that no one person or company is immune to the pressures of the day, even Starbucks.

As a company, we enter our 40th year undeniably healthier than we have ever been. As we leverage our collective strength, I have absolutely no doubt that the power of Starbucks partners will make 2011 another great year. Thank you for your passion, determination and commitment to the company. Enjoy the holidays--you deserve it.


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