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Starbucks to invest more in tea for growth in India

The coffee retailer expects India to be among the top five markets in the next few years

Global coffee retailer chain Starbucks expects India to be one of its top five markets in the world in a few years. Along with growing its core coffee business, the company is planning to invest more in tea for growth. It feels tea has a huge possibility of growing in the country given that India is primarily a tea drinker's market.

John Culver

"We operate in 75 markets and have 28,000 stores and India is one of our most important markets. One day, India will be one of the top five markets that Starbucks operates in,” said John Culver, President, Global Retail, Starbucks Corp and Group president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific Region.

Culver was here for the inauguration of the 100th Starbucks store in the country. “We are excited about the opportunity that India presents for the future of Starbucks," said Culver. Currently, the top five markets for Starbucks are the US, Canada, China, Japan and the UK.

Culver said they would enter their seventh city in the country early next year. Starbucks intends to open three more stores in Kolkata as part of their growth plans for India.

Starbucks entered the Indian market in the year 2012 through a partnership with Tata Global Beverages and opened their first store on October 19, 2012, in Mumbai. Culver credited their success in India to the strong partnership they have with Tata.

“Our success in India would not have been possible without a strong partnership like the one we have been able to build with Tata Global Beverages. It is a unique joint venture for Starbucks and one that sits at the top of all the partnerships that we have around the world,” said Culver.

Sumi Ghosh

Sumi Ghosh, CEO, Tata Starbucks Private Ltd, said that the coffee market in the country has grown 40 per cent over the last 10 years and while it still remains the core of the company, tea is something that they are looking to invest in and grow.

“Teavana tea is now offered in all the 28,000 stores that Starbucks has around the world. Tea, in the unique flavours that we are able to create with the Teavana brand, presents a huge opportunity for growth. Tea accounts for about 10 per cent of our sales and it is one of the fastest growing categories that we are in today. We will continue to make investments in tea and grow the Teavana brand,” said Ghosh.

While many coffee houses have had to shut shop in the country, Starbucks has held ground and that is despite the Indian unit posting its slowest sales growth last fiscal after the company slowed down expansion. Tata Starbucks saw a growth of about 14 per cent during the year ended March 2017 by clocking net sales of Rs 272 crore and managed to cut down losses to Rs 32 crore.

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