Wednesday 19 June 2024
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AUSTRALIA – 7-Eleven owner to take over Starbucks outlets

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MELBOURNE – Coffee giant Starbucks is selling its 24 stores in Australia to Melbourne-based The Withers Group, which owns the 7-Eleven franchise in the country covering 600 outlets.

The stores will continue to trade under the Starbucks brand with the Withers Group saying it plans to expand the chain, which has generally struggled to win over Australian coffee drinkers. In 2008 Starbucks closed 61 of its then 84 Australian stores.

Prior to the sale, Starbucks, which opened its first store in Sydney in 2000, was wholly owned by Starbucks in the U.S., based in Seattle.

Withers Group Chief Executive Warren Wilmot said, quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald, “Our aim will be to make Starbucks the most successful coffee chain in Australia.”

The Withers Group informed the store managers and employees of Starbuck’s 24 stores of the change in ownership.

Starbucks’ Australian outlets will be shifted to a new corporate entity, Starbucks Coffee Australia.

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Despite the ownership change, Starbucks will largely remain the same, particularly the coffee flavours that Starbucks is known for.

“We are just focused on delivering the best quality coffee and the best customer experience we can and continue to focus on what we do well,” added Jeff Hansberry, president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific.

Starbucks employs about 500 workers in Australia.

The Withers Group is a privately owned group of family companies headed by Melbourne rich-lister Russell Withers, who is worth an estimated $725 million.

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