Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ding dong the witch is dead...

Well... The Australian public have spoken with their wallets and Starbucks will be closing a vast majority of its stores throughout the country.

There is much discussion locally about why they did not flourish in Australia. Pressures from international chain such as Gloria Jeans, McCafe and Hudson's are being blamed. Personally I think it has a lot more to do with a huge resurgence in small independent, local, coffee companies that are much, much more popular with the people I work with. Merlo, Di Bella, MAP and small coffee shops (Black Star, 5 senses, Jasper, etc) are much more popular around town.

Read on...

I recall visiting Seattle about 10 years ago - before Starbuck's arrived in Australia and was amazed at the coffee culture. It is very different to Australia. Australia is - mostly - about sitting and drinking rather than grabbing and go. I was in Bellingham discussing the coffee phenomena with my taxi driver - Turbo Terry - amazed at the drive through coffee booths. Turbo told us to avoid the Starbuck's locust plague when it arrived in Australia. I am happy to advise that - in line with Australia's strong quarantine stance - we were able to avoid the plague.

It is really interesting to see the failure of a multi-national and incredibly strong brand.

Announcement to Customers - 29 July 2008.

Starbucks Coffee International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Starbucks Coffee Company today announced plans to restructure its business in Australia through a geographical refocus on three core cities and surrounding areas: Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

This decision will result in the closure of 61 locations throughout the country by August 3, 2008.

We would like to thank all of our customers for your continued patronage and support during the past eight years.

Starbucks has been a part of the Australian market since 2000. There are currently 84 Starbucks locations throughout the country, including Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne, South Australia, Sydney, and Tasmania. 23 stores will remain open in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and surrounding areas to serve customers in those communities.

The list of stores that are scheduled for closure will appear on this site by 5pm July 31st after all affected stores partners (employees) have been personally notified.

Other articles
Union response
Starbucks won't be the only one
Starbucks tastes defeat in Australia
Why Starbuck's lost its mojo... (interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor)

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