March 18, 2015 / 4:39 PM / 4 years ago

Starbucks to debut delivery in Manhattan, Seattle this year

(Reuters) - Starbucks Corp will begin offering delivery in New York City and Seattle later this year, when it also plans to expand mobile order and pay services across the United States.

A cup displaying the Starbucks Coffee logo is pictured at one of the coffee chain's store in Boca Raton, Florida January 19, 2010. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

The new efforts, announced at Starbucks’ annual meeting on Wednesday, come as U.S. restaurant chains ranging from McDonald’s Corp to Panera Bread Co turn to technology to increase sales, speed up service and connect with young, tech-savvy consumers.

Tenants in Manhattan’s Empire State Building will be the first to be offered Starbucks’ new “green apron” delivery service later this year.

The coffee chain will also partner with delivery service Postmates Inc in its hometown of Seattle, said Adam Brotman, Starbucks’ chief digital officer. The service will be linked to mobile order and pay.

Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz, who has opined on divisive issues such as same-sex marriage and the national debt, is also weighing in on race relations in America. As part of the discussion, baristas are writing “Race Together” on Starbucks cups and the company plans to release online conversation guides on the topic.

Early reaction to the campaign has been skeptical, prompting some social media users to call the company opportunistic.

Starbucks has about 12,000 shops in the United States. Its shares are up 25 percent over the last 12 months and have outperformed the major averages. The stock was up 2 percent at $96.28 on Wednesday afternoon.

The company also announced a 2-for-1 stock split, its sixth since going public in 1992.

Starbucks Chief Financial Officer Scott Maw said the split would modestly increase its earnings forecast for the second quarter and full year.

On a split-adjusted basis, the company said its prior forecasts for earnings excluding items equate to 32 to 33 cents a share for the second quarter and $1.55 to $1.57 for full fiscal-year 2015. Starbucks plans to report fiscal second-quarter results on April 23.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles and Bill Rigby in Seattle; editing by Dan Grebler and Matthew Lewis

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