Starbucks China CEO confirms target to reach 6,000 stores in the country by the end of 2022 as operations in Shanghai continue to recover following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions
Starbucks intends to reach 6,000 stores in China by the end of 2022 | Photo credit: Starbucks
Starbucks China CEO Leo Tsoi has reaffirmed that the Seattle-based coffee chain views China as a key market and is targeting 6,000 stores in the country by the end of the 2022.
Discussing the relaxing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in Shanghai, Tsoi told reporters that Starbucks is operating 860 stores in China’s ‘coffee capital’ now that coffee shops and other hospitality settings have resumed normal business operations again.
Tsoi said that Starbucks, which ended the last financial year with 5,360 stores in China, intended to increase its store count by more than 600 and reach 6,000 stores by the end of 2022.
Starbucks China's target comes as the coffee chain faces a resurgent Luckin Coffee which in May 2022 posted its first ever quarterly profit with the domestic chain now operating 6,580 sites. Both chains remain well ahead of competitors including the UK's Costa Coffee, which has over 400 stores, as well as Canada's Tim Hortons and domestic chain Manner Coffee which both have over 300 stores.
Tsoi also said there are ‘a number of investments’ the company is pursuing in China, alluding to the construction of Starbucks’ China Coffee Innovation Park in Kunshan, east China's Jiangsu Province, as a key part of plans.
The US chain heralds the Coffee Innovation Park as central to supporting efforts to enhance Starbucks’ supply chain efficiency and build a greener coffee industry in China.
"We are highly confident in China. Despite challenges and difficulties, we continue to invest and we continue to grow – there's a quite a number of investment that we are trying to do. Number one, we resume our new store opening. We committed to open 6,000 stores by the end of 2022.
Second is our continuation on the investment for the Kunshan innovation park. At the same time we're also building the intelligence distribution centre to help to distribute our products and coffees in China," Tsoi said.
Tsoi was appointed CEO of Starbucks China in October 2021 having led efforts to grow the coffee chain to 5,200 stores across more than 200 cities in China as President of Starbucks Retail, a position he held since 2016.
Shanghai, with a population of more than 25 million, is emerging from a two-month lockdown and is home to a reported 7,000 coffee shops.
Meanwhile, reimposed Covid-19 restrictions in Beijing following a fresh outbreak of nearly 200 cases has highlighted the difficult trading environment for hospitality businesses as China pursues its ‘zero Covid’ policy.