Break time: customers at a Starbucks in central Beijing
South China Morning Post:
Starbucks announced plans yesterday to make China its biggest market by 2019, with almost 1,400 new shops set to open by 2019.
The world’s largest coffee chain appears to be shrugging off the slowdown that has hit global retailers in the world’s second-largest economy, financial commentators have said.
Starbucks executives want to increase the number of stores in China from 2,000 to 3,400 by 2019. They will be creating 10,000 jobs every year until then, making China its the largest market outside the United States, said a company statement released on Tuesday.
The Seattle-born coffee chain claimed they have not experienced the slump in China plaguing American eateries such as KFC and Pizza Hut.
About 500 Starbucks shops plan to open in China this year alone.
John Culver, Starbucks president of the China and Asia-Pacific region, said the company remains positive about growth opportunities in the country.
“We have no intention of slowing down and we remain very optimistic and bullish on the opportunities that Starbucks has in China, both in the short-term as well as in the long-term,” he told Bloomberg.
He went on to say the company was seeing growth in new customers in China, as well as more frequent visits from existing ones.
“This tells us that we are becoming part of their daily ritual,” he told Bloomberg.
New Starbucks stores that opened in fiscal year 2015 have outperformed the average sales of those opened in the last seven years.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said this week that China had the potential to become the company’s largest market.
“Over time, it’s conceivable that China could become our largest market and I am grateful to our 30,000 dedicated China partners and their supportive families for the significant contributions they are making to Starbucks success,” he said.
“We are deeply humbled by the enthusiasm with which Chinese people have embraced Starbucks as part of their daily ritual over the past 17 years.”
“The continued investments we are making, coupled with the culture of innovation we have established, are elevating Starbucks partner and customer experience beyond that of any other retailer in China.”
The company hopes to attract new staff with the offer of a monthly housing allowance subsidy, covering 50 per cent of an employee’s monthly housing expenditures.