Starbucks opens largest store in the world

Javier Stokes
December 6, 2017

Executive chairman Howard Schultz, speaking at the launch of Starbucks' first overseas "Reserve Roastery" - an opulent flagship store with gourmet coffees and a bakery - said China was on track to be "bigger, more powerful and more significant" than the firm's U.S. business.

Starbucks is opening their biggest location ever in Shanghai on Wednesday.

The Seattle-based company is homing in on its fastest-growing market as it searches for ways to kick-start sluggish global sales after saturating the USA with lattes and cappuccinos.

The location has three coffee bars offering multiple brewing methods and some of the rarest small-lot coffees in the world, a Teavana tea "experience" bar, and freshly baked Italian artisanal food by Princi, Starbucks' exclusive Roastery food partner. China is on course to be the company's largest market in less than a decade, he added.

"The roastery is not just a new physical environment, it is an opportunity to create a new super premium brand, Starbucks Reserve", Schultz said.

Starbucks announced it would expand its investment in China in July 2017 by sealing its biggest deal: the company planned to acquire the remaining 50% of its East China joint venture in a $1.3 billion transaction.

While Starbucks may no longer hold the monopoly it once did over the American coffee market, the worldwide cafe chain is doing remarkably well in China, where it first set up shop in 1999. Customers can watch the green beans as they are roasted, then sent through copper "symphony" pipes (named because of the musical sound the beans make as they travel through them) directly to silos at the coffee bars. Same-store sales gained 8 percent in the country during the most recent quarter, compared with 2 percent globally.

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"This is a show store", Gordon said.

Starbucks is serving more than 5 million customers in China per week, Johnson said.

"Right now we notice an increasing number of small brands and independent coffee shops".

But despite all of Shanghai Roastery's features, it's still a coffee shop at heart.

It's part of a new line of upscale shops the company is rolling out around the world.

In the run up to the opening, the Starbucks publicity machine has been in overdrive, hitting social media sites and chat rooms with news and details of he launch.

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