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Prairies to lead eating-out sales in 2014

RESTAURANT sales in Manitoba and the rest of the Prairie provinces are expected to lead the country in growth in 2014, the latest forecast by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) says.

Sales in Manitoba are expected to be up 5.1 per cent in 2014, a rate surpassed only by Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Nationally, restaurant sales are expected to grow by 4.7 per cent next year.

Dwayne Marling, the association's representative for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, said "If I was someone trying to decide where to open a restaurant in the coming year or so in Canada, it is clear that Prairie Canada is where the growth is."

While there is good growth expected for next year in Manitoba, the province is coming off a poor 2013, according to the CFRA's modelling.

Marling said industry sales this year are expected to be down 0.4 per cent compared with 2012, the only province in the country to be in the red. He said the only explanation would be in the area of consumer confidence and disposable income, both of which have been hampered by revisions to the provincial sales tax regulations.


Investment company buys Dr. Martens

LONDON -- The suits are taking over. An investment firm has agreed to buy Dr. Martens, the maker of the boots that became a fashion staple for punks.

Thursday's deal by Permira Funds to take control of R Griggs Group Ltd. for 300 million pounds ($485.9 million) ends 50 years of family ownership. It also puts to rest reports the Griggs family was looking to exit the business.

Dr. Martens chief executive David Suddens praised the brand's status as a "symbol of self-expression" for decades, saying Permira Funds respects and wants to nurture that heritage. Dr. Martens employs 700 people worldwide and its products are sold in 63 countries. The deal is expected to be completed in January.


New York City suits Starbucks to a tea

NEW YORK -- Starbucks is trying to make tea trendy, with plans to open its first "tea bar" in New York City.

The Seattle-based company says Teavana Fine Teas + Teavana Tea Bar will serve sweets and other food including flatbreads, salads and small plates ranging in price from about $3 to $15. Drink prices will range from $3 to $6 and include novelties such as a spiced Mandarin oolong tea and carbonated teas.

The menu of food and freshly made drinks is a switch for Teavana, a chain of about 300 stores that sell boxed and loose tea and accessories. Teavana stores are mainly in shopping malls, but Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he plans to expand the footprint to include more locations in urban areas. The company plans to add brewed tea and food to more Teavana stores.

The opening of the New York City store on Thursday comes after Starbucks bought Teavana last year. The company has said it plans to use the acquisition to make tea a bigger part of American culture, as it has with coffee.

Starbucks Corp., which has about 11,000 U.S. locations, has been on a strong financial run even in the weak economy, boosting its profits by raising prices, revamping food offerings and adding items such as pricey bottled juices. In its latest quarter, it said, sales rose nine per cent at cafés open at least a year.

-- staff / The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 25, 2013 B17

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