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Starbucks expanding loyalty program beyond cafes

Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz spoke at the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday.

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz spoke at the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday.

NEW YORK — Starbucks is offering a novel perk to get more people to sign up for its loyalty program: letting members earn points when they buy bags of its coffee at supermarkets.

The Seattle-based company said at its annual meeting Wednesday that the new perk will roll out in May. Adam Brotman, the chief digital officer of Starbucks, noted during a presentation that the loyalty program is important because it helps the company collect ‘‘good customer insight’’ that can be used to better tailor online advertising.

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Starbucks Corp. had announced the move to let customers earn points through branded retail products late last year but hadn’t said when it would be available. To earn points, members would have to sign on to their accounts online and enter a code on the Starbucks coffee bag.

The program will expand in the fall to other Starbucks products sold in supermarkets. Starting next month, customers will also be able to earn points at the company’s recently acquired Teavana shops.

Brotman said the company is adding about 80,000 new loyalty members a week. By the end this fiscal year, he said, it plans to push total membership to 9 million, which is double the number it had at the end of October. Currently, he said, there are about 6 million members.

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