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To survive in retail, Howard Schultz, Starbucks' (SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report executive chairman, said companies need to offer something that excites the senses, like Disney's (DIS) - Get The Walt Disney Company Report theme parks.

Starbucks is doing this through its Roastery concept, with locations opening in Shanghai this year and in New York, Milan and Tokyo in 2018, Schultz said on Wednesday, at a conference held at The Economic Club of New York.

"Think about Disney, it's a theme park of coffee," Schultz said. "We have to be in the seduction business."

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Schultz also said Starbucks will be bringing its "social gifting program," currently in China, where people can send free coffee coupons to friends and family through social media, to the U.S. this year.

Wednesday's conference was moderated by former Macy's (M) - Get Macy's, Inc. Report CEO Terry Lundgren, who was succeeded by Jeff Gennette in April.

Schultz was the CEO of Starbucks from 1987 to 2000 and again from 2008 until his departure, also in April. He was replaced by Kevin Johnson, the company's former president and COO.

Starbucks is held in Jim Cramer's charitable trust portfolio Action Alerts PLUS. See all of Cramer's holdings with a free trial.

Editor's Pick: Originally published May 24.