Coffee chain Starbucks starts selling wine and beer in three Seattle outlets this week, part of an ongoing revamp aimed at turning around the company.

The new 15th Ave Coffee and Tea concept, said the company, was inspired by the original Starbucks coffee houses, before the chain expanded to the point of ubiquity.

The addition of wine and beer to the menu comes as the company continues to shrink, with up to 1,000 shops earmarked for closure around the world.

A Starbucks spokesperson was unable to give any details of the number or style of wines on offer in the new shops.

‘Starbucks decided to build a new type of coffeehouse that would serve customers throughout the day, and in the true spirit of a traditional coffeehouse this store would serve beer and wine,’ she said.

‘We have a short-term plan to open three stores in Seattle at this time. We know that we can learn a lot from these stores and hope to take these learnings and present Starbucks, in this new way, to our customers in other communities where it makes sense.’

The company said it had no plans for similar ventures in the UK.

The announcement came as Starbucks unveiled better than expected third quarter financial results, a profit of US$151.5m, overturning the company’s first ever quarterly loss of a year ago.

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Written by Richard Woodard