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Starbucks achieves pay milestone in U.S.; details digital and brick-and-mortar growth

Starbucks Corp. on Wednesday said it has reached gender and race pay equality among all U.S. employees in similar roles.

“This milestone is the result of years of work and commitment, and we believe it is important, as a company of our scale, to help bring more attention to this critical issue,” said Lucy Helm, executive VP and chief partner officer at Starbucks. The coffee giant also made a commitment to reach gender pay parity at all of its company-owned locations around the world.

Starbucks announced the pay equity news in conjunction with the chain’s annual meeting of shareholders in Seattle, during which CEO Kevin Johnson highlighted three “core assets” of the brand: increasing digital engagement, growing relevancy in China and celebrating the Starbucks Reserve brand as the company’s innovation lab for the future.

Digital: On the digital side, Starbucks is looking to grow digital relationships with the more than 60 million current U.S. customers per month who are not yet members of Starbucks Rewards.

In addition to opening the app’s mobile-order-and-pay capabilities to non-Starbucks Rewards members this month, Starbucks will unveil a series of campaigns – inside and outside stores – designed to build personalized digital relationships with customers that create new revenue opportunities.

“When it comes to how a retailer focuses on the customer, we see too many examples of businesses choosing between an experience that solely focuses on convenience or one that simply highlights community,” said Johnson. “But we don’t believe there needs to be this type of a tradeoff, and our third place can and will continue to unite both experiences.”

China: Starbucks has expanded from 800 stores to 3,200 stores in China in the past five years, with an average of one new location opening every 15 hours. The company remains on track to open more than 5,000 stores in China by 2021.

Starbucks Reserve: The company recently opened its first Starbucks Reserve store, on the ground floor of its Seattle headquarters. The upscale format combines higher-end coffees with freshly-made Italian goods from Princi, the Italian artisanal bakery that Starbucks has an investment in.

Starbucks plans to open freestanding Princi stores in Seattle, Chicago, New York and Shanghai this year. It also plans to open up to 1,000 Reserve stores “over time,” and 20% of the Starbucks store portfolio will become Starbucks Reserve locations.

In addition, the company will open Reserve Roasteries, its experiential concept, in Milan and New York later this year, in addition to Tokyo and Chicago in 2019.

“The Starbucks Reserve brand represents the pinnacle of coffee theater and passion, serving as inspiration to the entire organization,” said Johnson. “As these store innovations become refined, customers can expect to see an evolution of our innovation through our broader store portfolio, elevating the entire premium experience for Starbucks and the coffee industry.”
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