Starbucks is not seeking to sell its 1,100-store UK business despite reports that increased market competition had triggered sales plans
Starbucks currently operates nearly 1,100 stores in the UK, around 75% of which are licensed | Photo credit: Starbucks
Starbucks has dismissed reports in The Times, which claimed the world’s largest coffee chain had employed US investment bank Houlihan Lokey to canvass interest in its UK business.
A spokesperson for the coffee chain told World Coffee Portal: “Starbucks is not in a formal sale process for the company’s UK business.”
The Times reported that competition from rival coffee chains was a factor in Starbucks’ plans to explore the sale of its UK operations.
Starbucks, which operates nearly 1,100 stores in the UK, around 75% of which are licensed, is facing increased competition from UK-based chains such as Costa Coffee, Caffé Nero and Pret A Manger, which operate 2,800, 620 and 442 stores in the UK respectively.
Fellow North American chain Tim Hortons is also seeking to challenges the status quo with plans to double the size of its UK store portfolio, where it currently operates 54 outlets.
Starbucks’ UK business reported sales of £328m ($393m) for the year to October 2021, a 35% increase on a pandemic-disrupted previous 12 months.
World Coffee Portal understands that Starbucks, which celebrates 25 years of UK operations next year, is committed to the UK market and is pursuing a focus on new digital sales channels.
The company first entered the UK market in 1998 after acquiring UK-based Seattle Coffee Company, with its first store located on King's Road, Chelsea.
Starbucks operates 34,630 stores globally. Of that figure, 51% are company-operated and 49% are licensed. In March 2022, the Seattle-based coffee chain outlined a goal to operate 55,000 stores in more than 100 markets worldwide by 2030.