World's biggest Starbucks has opened … in China, of course


Starbucks has opened a stunning location in China that is 300 times bigger than the average coffee shop. The 30,000 square-feet store - about half the size of a soccer pitch - is part of upscale moves championed by founder and Chairman Howard Schultz.

Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson is targeting the Seattle-based company's fastest growing market as it searches for ways to kick-start sluggish global sales after saturating the USA with lattes and cappuccinos. This will be available to visitors of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai where they can use the tech to gain a better insight of the company's operations.

The one bright spot was China, which stood out as Starbucks' fastest growing market.

"China is top of my priorities for 2018", Pascal Heritier, chief operating officer of Italian coffee company Massimo Zanetti, told Reuters, adding the firm, which sells Boncafe and Segafredo coffee, was in talks with local partners about expanding its presence.

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Starbucks is going venti in China.

Same-store sales at USA cafes were up 2% for the quarter ended 1 October, while sales in China were up 8%. Revenue from the Asia-Pacific region accounted for nearly 15 percent of Starbucks' revenue for the fiscal year ended in October.

Starbucks expanded its investment in China in July, when it announced plans to buy out the partners in its East China joint venture.

The company is playing to that perception with its new Shanghai shop.

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China is a vital market for Starbucks, according to John Gordon, a restaurant analyst at Pacific Management Consulting.

"There are many more choices for consumers in the coffee market here now", said Wu, 35, who set up the store with her boyfriend this year, the couple's second outlet. The brand plans to open the concept in Milan and NY in 2018 and Tokyo and Chicago in 2019.

Starbucks said the flagship store provides a "multi-sensory retail experience", with consumers provided access to the roasting, packaging and brewing of coffee, while they indulge in a line of premium coffee called Reserve.

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