The Store Expansion Strategy
In 1992 and 1993 Starbucks developed a three-year geographic expansion strategy that targeted areas which not only had favorable demographic profiles but which also could be serviced and supported by the company's operations infrastructure. For each targeted region, Starbucks selected a large city to serve as a "hub"; teams of professionals were located in hub cities to support the goal of opening 20 or more stores in the hub in the first two years. Once stores blanketed the hub, then additional stores were opened in smaller, surrounding "spoke" areas in the region. To oversee the expansion process, Starbucks created zone vice presidents to direct the development of each region and to implant the Starbucks culture in the newly opened stores. All of the new zone vice presidents Starbucks recruited came with extensive operating and marketing experience in chain-store retailing.
Starbucks' store launches grew steadily more successful. In 1995, new stores generated an average of $700,000 in revenue in their first year, far more than the average of $427,000 in 1990. This was partly due to the growing reputation of the Starbucks brand. In more and more instances, Starbucks' reputation reached new markets even before stores opened. Moreover, existing stores continued to post year-to-year gains in sales (see Exhibit 1).
Starbucks had notable success...