Starbucks has a case of the munchies. Famous for its coffee, Starbucks is rolling out its own brand of snack bars and fruit pouches, marking a major bid to extend its brand into the packaged food category. The Evolution Harvest snacks will begin appearing in US cafes next week, with plans to reach all major metropolitan markets by the end of September. The snacks and Evolution Fresh premium bottled juices, which are already in many Starbucks outlets, are also being sold at Whole Foods supermarkets nationwide. The growing Evolution brand will replace the Kind fruit-and-nut bars Starbucks currently sells. The snack partnership with Whole Foods is expected to grow and include trail mixes and more freeze-dried fruit products.
Starbucks plans to open its first cafe in Colombia next year and it will sell only local-sourced coffee in a move CEO Howard Schultz called "long overdue." The company hopes to open at least 50 coffee shops in Colombia over the next five years. The cafes will be run as part of a joint venture by the large Mexican firm Alsea and a Colombian company.
Diesel car sales are growing rapidly in the US - doubling compared with last year. Popular in Europe, diesel cars get as much as 50 percent more fuel mileage than gasoline-powered vehicles. High pump prices and tightening US economy fuel efficiency standards may prompt more automakers to introduce diesel models. "SUVs will drive the increase," says USA Today. A forecast by the firm LMC Automotive says 26 percent of SUVs sold in 2018 will have diesels, up from 8 percent last year. Volkswagen Group, which makes Audi and VW cars, is the market leaders in diesel products.
Bill Ackman has had it with JC Penney. After failing to overhaul the troubled retailer chain, he plans to sell his shares for just over $504 million. Ackman, who runs Pershing Square Capital Management, now owns 18 percent of Penney. The planned sale comes after Ackman resigned from J.C. Penney Co.'s board as part of a deal to resolve a damaging public board fight between the activist investor and the retailer. The company's sales and stock value have plunged in the past three years since Ackman became involved.
A showdown on federal government debt is getting closer. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says the government will run out of money to pay its bills in mid-October unless lawmakers raise the country's borrowing limit, which is capped at $16.7 trillion. Lew said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner that the government is running out of accounting maneuvers it has used to avoid hitting the borrowing limit. He pressed Congress to act so Treasury can keep paying the government's bills.
The threat of US military action in Syria sent stocks lower late yesterday. Futures are down this morning and overseas markets closed lower overnight. Stocks rose yesterday until strong remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry against the chemical weapons attack. The price of oil is up to $106 a barrel. Gold is up $17 an ounce to over $1,400.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc