With more than 6,000 shareholders in attendance, Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX – News) today unveiled a series of innovative customer-facing initiatives at its Annual Meeting of Shareholders. Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO, shared his vision for transforming the Starbucks customer experience and reinforcing a strong foundation from which to grow. The announcements marked the next stage of Starbucks transformation following nearly three months of passionate work that began with Schultz’s return as CEO on January 7.

Beyond the five initiatives the company said it would deliver, Schultz also announced that Starbucks had signed an agreement to acquire The Coffee Equipment Company and its Clover brewing system.

“Eleven weeks ago, I made a personal commitment to every one of our customers and partners (employees) to reaffirm our place as the world’s coffee authority,” said Schultz. “By embracing our heritage, returning to our core–all things coffee–and our relentless commitment to innovation, we will reignite the emotional connection we have with our customers and transform the Starbucks Experience. I am confident that the ground-breaking initiatives we’ve announced today demonstrate our laser focus on living up to that commitment. We know that this is just the beginning, but we also know that there has never been a more exhilarating or promising time in our history.”

At the annual meeting, Starbucks unveiled the following new initiatives. They are focused on improving the current state of the U.S. business, re-igniting the emotional attachment with customers and making foundational changes for the long term:

* A proprietary and revolutionary in-store Clover brewing system that delivers the best cup of brewed coffee available anywhere;

* A complete reinvention of brewed coffee in-store, that will be brought to life by baristas across the U.S., who will scoop and grind a new unique coffee blend, connecting customers to the early days of Starbucks;

* The introduction of a new state-of-the-art espresso system that provides the perfect shot every time and helps facilitate the critical connection between barista and customer;

* The first phase of a Starbucks Card Rewards program, rewarding registered cardholders and providing unique new benefits when using their cards in Starbucks stores;

* The launch of MyStarbucksIdea.com, Starbucks first online community, that takes the Starbucks Experience outside the store and enables customers to play a role in shaping the company’s future; and,

* An expanded relationship with Conservation International that enhances Starbucks 37-year commitment to ethically sourcing the world’s finest coffees and reaffirms Starbucks leadership position in sustainable sourcing and climate preservation.

“There have been times in our history where others questioned whether we had reached our limit – yet time and time again, we have responded by reaching even greater heights,” Schultz said. “Today, we again demonstrated our commitment to surpassing the expectations of every one of our customers, shareholders and partners. We hope we’ve given everyone a reason to believe – not only in the endurance of the Starbucks legacy, but also in our ability to continually raise the bar for what it means to be the world’s leading roaster and retailer of specialty coffee.”

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