BERLIN, Germany Nov 14 Starbucks plans
to open more stores at train stations and on motorways in
Germany to make a profit in Europe's largest economy, the U.S.
group's European boss said.
The world's largest coffee chain has struggled to expand as
quickly as it wanted in the European Union's biggest and most
prosperous economy. When Starbucks originally entered the
country in 2002, it said it wanted 200 stores.
Now, 10 years on, it has 160 stores in 40 towns and
management has previously admitted they took the wrong path by
opening stores in expensive town centre locations near shops.
"We will definitely open more stores," Kris Engskov, who has
headed the group's Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)
division since May, told Reuters in an interview.
He said the chain would concentrate on big cities like
Berlin, Munich and Duesseldorf.
Starbucks has been reviewing its stores in Europe over the
last five quarters, closing 72 in that time, but said at its
fourth-quarter results last month it now plans to open 150 new
ones in the EMEA region in its new fiscal year.
The U.S. group will mostly look to open new stores in train
stations, motorway service stations and so-called Corner Cafes,
which are self-service areas within offices, said Engskov, who
used to head the group's UK & Ireland business.
Starbucks currently has 100 Corner Cafes in four countries,
including Switzerland. "We want to open Corner Cafes in 10
countries and Germany has priority," Engskov said.
He also said Starbucks would look to open more stores under
a franchise system. The group has just started franchising in
Britain and plans to award a first licence in France this year.
The franchising system, where franchise holders take on more
of the risk of investing and running individual stores, is
popular with fast-food chains such as Burger King and
Domino's Pizza .
"We will also examine whether this makes sense in Germany,"
He said these efforts should make Starbucks profitable in
countries like Germany and Britain, where it has come under fire
over accusations that it has not paid enough tax.
The group said last month that sales rose 3 percent in the
Europe, Middle East and Africa region and its fourth-quarter
operating income of $27 million was the highest achieved since
it started separating out EMEA profits in 2010. It did not give
details of profits for the individual countries.
"I am certain that our new strategy will lead to long-term
profitability in Germany, France and Britain," Engskov said.