Starbucks Corporation (SBUX), Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (DPS), Dunkin Brands Group Inc (DNKN): Taking Tea Sales

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What's the second most consumed beverage in the world behind water?

Tea.

Since the founding of Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) over 40 years ago, the company has been committed to providing a broad selection of caffeinated beverages. What was the original name of the company, for you history buffs? "Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spices."

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)

Earlier last week at the Jefferies Global Consumer Conference, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) management outlined the company's long term plan for global growth. At the conference Starbucks was very upbeat when it announced that it expects sustained revenue and earnings per share growth of 10%-15% every year. Chief Financial Officer, Troy Alstead, suggested over the coming years that increased focus will be placed on growing the company's tea category.

Last year, with the acquisition of Teavana, the company bought its way into the position of a market leader. During the conference Alstead gave us a description of the three pronged growth plan for the tea category. First, management is looking to expand the company's footprint through the traditional mall-based locations and more importantly through standalone neighborhood locations. At these new locations consumers will have the ability to order handmade tea offerings in a tea house setting. Later in the year the company plans to open its first tea house in New York, prior to a full scale launch over the next few years.

The second leg of growth for tea is to deepen the presence within the Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) stores and to really use tea as a driver of another customer occasion, another customer visit. In store the company plans to offer more innovative tea offerings in an attempt to attract the customer looking for a more relaxed, sit down environment.

The third piece of the puzzle is to leverage the Teavana brand in the future. Once the company has established a strong following in the tea category it will be able to launch a line of at-home items. As of late the company has placed increased focus on the ready to drink line. I could see the company creating a line of luxury iced tea drinks barring the Teavana name and logo. In addition to Teavana, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) maintains exposure through its long standing Tazo Tea brand.

Let's take a look at another major tea player, Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (NYSE:DPS), whom I'm sure most of use all are familiar with. While Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (NYSE:DPS) may be more of a soft drink company, the company has worked hard to innovate and diversify its product line. Snapple now offers a broad selection of drinks including lightly sweetened, diet, all natural, and green. As of the last quarter, I was surprised hear from management that these products are performing exceptionally well in Latin America. By expanding its drink line in the region, the company has was able to steal market share and grow sales by 8.8% last quarter alone. The margins from these drinks are impressive at 57.2%. As with a Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) investor, a Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (NYSE:DPS) shareholder will reap the benefits of tea exposure while being diversified across a variety of non-tea products.

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