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Starbucks shaking things up in Europe

Starbucks Corp. is scaling back its direct involvement in four European countries.

Starbucks opened its first store in France in 2004, in Paris, and entered the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg between 2008 and 2016. It currently has more than 260 stores across the four countries. Of those, 83 are company-owned stores that would transition to Alsea under the proposed deal.

The changes come as Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has been restructuring the company’s domestic operations and looking to improve lagging sales in the United States and China, which the chain has targeted for aggressive expansion.

Starbucks initially joined forces with Alsea in 2002, when the companies opened Mexico City’s first Starbucks store. Today, Alsea operates more than 900 Starbucks stores in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay, and has a workforce of more than 11,500 employees across the five markets.

“We’re very pleased to build on our 16-year history with Alsea, a long-term strategic partner to Starbucks, with the intention to license our business operations in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg,” said John Culver, group president, Starbucks International, Channel Development and Global Coffee & Tea. “These strategic moves would enable us to further accelerate growth across these markets as we position Starbucks for long-term success moving forward.”

The proposal is subject to relevant local laws, and discussions with relevant employee representatives, according to Starbucks.

In another move in its EMEA market, Starbucks intends to restructure its back-office support functions in the region. The company plans to close a support center in Amsterdam, and lay off nearly all of its 190 workers, according to Bloomberg.

The company is also planning an organizational shake-up at its head office in London. While Starbucks didn’t reveal details, the move will “simplify our organization so that it can best service our increasingly licensed store market strategy while continuing to embed our mission and values in how we operate everyday,” said Martin Brok, president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Starbucks.

Starbucks opened its first store in Europe 20 years ago, and it has since grown in partnership with strategic licensees to more than 3,200 stores in 43 markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
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