Starbucks Allegedly Mulls Selling UK Business

Global coffee chain Starbucks is allegedly mulling whether to sell its business operations in the United Kingdom amid price surges and the rise of new competitors in the country.

Citing familiar sources, British news outlet The Times reported that Starbucks is currently consulting with financial consultants to evaluate whether it should or should not sell its business in the UK. 

The Times article reported that Starbucks continues to “evaluate strategic options” for its corporate-owned worldwide operations but have not started a “formal sales process” for its UK business yet.

The release of the report comes during a period when the UK economy is struggling. In May, the UK’s inflation rate reached 9.1 percent, a 40-year high and the highest among the top G7 economies.

The Times’ report disclosed that Starbucks has contacted financial firm Houlihan Lokey Inc. to solicit interest for its UK operations, and that the company has been up against competition from Pret A Manger, Tim Hortons, and Costa as well as other competing coffee companies.

Starbucks’ operations has also been struggling in the United States with recent attempts by its American staff to unionize.

As of October 2021, there are approximately 800 licensed shops and about 300 company-operated Starbucks cafes in the UK, 23 years after the coffee chain opened its first location in the UK in 1998.

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