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Starbucks will open stores in Stop & Shops

Pact opens new front in war with Dunkin'

Bread, milk, and latte to go?

Starbucks, the Seattle java giant, will be serving up its coffee inside Stop & Shop grocery stores this spring.

The first shops will go into as many as 45 new and existing supermarkets run by Stop & Shop in New York and New Jersey.

Starbucks will then expand to other grocery stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire in 2007, in an apparent effort to challenge Dunkin' Donuts dominance in New England.

Stop & Shop would not disclose how many Starbucks would open in its New England stores.

The in-store Starbucks will offer a complete menu, and certain locations will feature table seating and wireless Internet access. The shops will also offer packaged Starbucks coffees that are not typically sold in grocery stores.

''This fits into our strategy of opening in places where customers want us to be," said Nick Davis, a Starbucks spokesman. ''Our deal with Stop & Shop allows us to introduce that Starbucks experience to more and more customers throughout New England."

The five-year licensing agreement with Starbucks comes several years after rival Dunkin' Donuts signed its own partnership with Stop & Shop.

Dunkin' has about 130 stores inside Stop & Shop supermarkets in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

Across New England, Dunkin' has more than 1,800 locations, compared to Starbucks's more than 240 shops.

''Dunkin' Donuts values the relationship that it has with Stop & Shop, and we will continue to provide our premium coffee and baked goods to customers," the Canton company said in a statement.

Starbucks's agreement with Stop & Shop is the latest strike in the region's brewing coffee wars. Late last year, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. introduced Newman's Own Organics Blend at 600 McDonald's in New England.

It's the only place in the country where the fast-food chain is making the switch, and analysts say the move will help the Golden Arches grab part of the gourmet coffee market and better compete with Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks.

''We know our customers will be thrilled with the ability to enjoy a freshly brewed espresso or cappuccino while they shop at our stores," Bill Cummings, Stop & Shop Supermarket Co.'s executive vice president of operations, said in a statement. ''It's another example of the one-stop shopping we offer, where customers can find a variety of goods and services under one roof."

Indeed, Stop & Shop has added Staples-branded office-supply aisles and allowed Citizens Bank to operate 125 branches inside Stop & Shop markets in New England.

''Think of all the people that go to Starbucks for their morning coffee," said Mike Berger, editor of the Griffin Report of Food Marketing, a Pembroke trade publication. ''If you can get them into a Starbucks at Stop & Shop, chances are they'll do some impulse buying."

Stop & Shop, which has its headquarters in Quincy, operates about 550 stores under the Stop & Shop and Giant Food brands.

Stop & Shop is owned by the Dutch food retailer Royal Ahold NV.

Jenn Abelson can be reached at abelson@globe.com.

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