| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Jan 29 Starbucks Corp
Chief Executive Howard Schultz on Wednesday said he was
promoting Chief Financial Officer Troy Alstead to the new
position of chief operating officer, allowing Schultz to focus
on expanding the coffee shop chain's e-commerce business.
Alstead will take over oversight of the brick-and-mortar
shops, where traffic rose 4 percent during the quarter that
included the holiday season. Starbucks also saw a record $1.4
billion loaded onto gift cards during that quarter.
The company, a leader is mobile payments and digital
marketing, for years has been finding ways to link and
strengthen its sales by tying together its cafe business with
selling its products at grocery stores and other retailers.
"This is not about succession planning and this is not about
me in any planning to or even thinking about leaving he
company," Schultz, Starbucks founder and chief executive, told
Reuters in a telephone interview.
The intensified emphasis on e-commerce, including mobile
payments and gift cards, is an opportunity for Starbucks "to
create new channels of revenue and profit outside four walls of
stores .. amid a seismic shift" in the way consumers are
shopping, Schultz said.
The new initiative includes mobile payments projects, said
Schultz, who declined to elaborate.
Seattle-based Starbucks is an investor in mobile payments
provider Square. When asked if Starbucks planned to buy that
company, which processes mobile payments for Starbucks and
other retailers, Schultz said Wednesday's announcement was not
about an acquisition.
Schultz did say that future programs would include the use
of "Starbucks currency in other retailers outside Starbucks."
Starbucks already allows users of its loyalty and payment
card to earn "stars" - or points - when they buy coffee at a
participating grocery store. Those stars can then be redeemed at
a Starbucks cafe.