Unilever picks up Tazo brand from Starbucks

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The deal, which also hands the Dutch-British company Tazo's signature recipes, intellectual property and inventory, leaves Starbucks Corp. with its Teavana tea brand. In the past year, Tazo had sales of $112.5 million. The brand, which is sold mainly in conventional grocery and convenience retail channels, produces a range of tea products, including packaged tea, K-Cup pods and bottled ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages.

Starbucks paid U.S. $8.1 million for Tazo in 1999, five years after it was founded.

"With its strong appeal to millennials, Tazo is a ideal strategic fit for our US portfolio", Kees Kruythoff, President, Unilever North America said.

"With our growth strategy for premium tea exclusively focused on Teavana, we are pleased to transition our Tazo business to Unilever".

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Starbucks total net income slipped 1.6% to $789 million, or 54 cents a share, on total net revenue of $5.7 billion for the three months ended October 1. And the company committed to returning US$15 billion to investors over the next three years through dividends and stock buybacks. The company said USA same-store sales would have risen 3% in the quarter if not for closures and lost business related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

On the company's quarterly call, Starbucks said it would launch a co-branded Chase Visa credit card this winter. Same-store sales in the region increased 2%, missing analysts' predictions of a 3.2% gain. Overall, the company reported net income of $788.5 million, or 54 cents per share, in the three months ending October 1.

In the long-term, the company is targeting annual global comparable-store sales growth of 3 percent to 5 percent and annual consolidated net revenue growth in the high-single digits. Wall Street analysts expected Starbucks to have about $5.81 billion in revenue. It is sold in Starbucks outlets and grocery stores in the USA and Canada. It reported a profit of $788.5m, or 54 cents a share, compared with $801m, or 54 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding some items, profit amounted to 55 United States cents a share last quarter - in line with analysts' forecast.

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