Starbucks to debut can-bottled coffee in Japan

TOKYO - Starbucks Coffee Japan will sell coffee in can bottles at convenience stores and other retail outlets, chasing higher earnings despite limited room to add even more cafes.

The unit of the American coffeehouse operator will join hands with Japanese beverage giant Suntory Beverage & Food to develop the new canned version of Pike Place Roast black coffee.

Michael Conway, president of global channel development, on Tuesday spotlighted the ample room for growth in can-bottled coffee. He noted in a news conference that 65 per cent of Japanese coffee consumption is outside cafes. Conway oversees planning and development of products sold outside Starbucks stores.

This will mark the first time that the Seattle-based company sells drinks in can bottles, not long after it turned the Japanese joint venture into a wholly owned subsidiary this past March.

Can-bottled coffee is a strong seller in Japan, thanks to demand from businessmen who appreciate a cup of joe on the go. Domestic sales of such coffee increased 18 per cent last year.

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