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   Non-TechStarbucks (SBUX)

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From: Glenn Petersen8/1/2018 10:21:46 PM
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Starbucks CEO confirms Alibaba partnership, plans to expand delivery to 2,000 stores in China

  • Starbucks and Alibaba are partnering to expand the coffeemaker's delivery and digital presence in China, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson tells CNBC.
  • The strategy "will be an accelerator for our business, no doubt," Johnson tells "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.
Elizabeth Gurdus | @lizzygurdus
Published 43 Mins Ago Updated 15 Mins Ago

Starbucks has officially struck a partnership with Alibaba Group with a multi-pronged plan to boost the beverage company's digital and physical presence in China, Starbucks President and CEO Kevin Johnson told CNBC on Wednesday.

div > > p:first-child" itemprop="cssSelector"> In the exclusive agreement, the global fast-casual chain will leverage all of Alibaba's properties, including delivery platform and supermarket chain Hema, to expand delivery services throughout China.

"We're going to integrate a Starbucks virtual store into all of the Alibaba Group properties," Johnson told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer in an interview.

"This means that a customer that uses Alipay or Taobao or Tmall or Hema has an integrated Starbucks virtual store similar to the mobile app embedded right into that experience," the CEO said. "That opens up 500 million or more active users of those apps that will have access to Starbucks."

Starbucks will also partner with, a food delivery platform that Alibaba acquired this year, to open 150 stores in Shanghai and Beijing and then broaden delivery to 2,000 stores in 30 cities "before the end of the calendar year," Johnson said.

In Hema's small-scale supermarkets, Starbucks plans to build up to 600 of what the company calls "Starbucks Delivery Kitchens" — stations that will service delivery orders for surrounding areas — over the next several years.

While the partnership was previously reported by the Wall Street Journal, Johnson's comments marked the first official confirmation by the coffeemaker about its specific plan with Alibaba.

Calling the initiative "a transformative strategic partnership around modern retail," Johnson said the combination of Alibaba's top-tier technology capabilities and Starbucks' retail prowess "will be an accelerator for our business, no doubt."

In Starbucks' fiscal third quarter, its China business — which has historically been a growth driver for the company — weakened slightly. While Starbucks' revenues in the Chinese market grew 17 percent, its same-store sales, a key metric for retailers, fell 2 percent.

"Most of the growth of transactions in China is coming from our new store growth," Johnson told Cramer on Wednesday. "Now, yes, we did have a negative 2 percent same-store sales comp last quarter, but, you know, if ... I look at what we're doing here with Alibaba and the digital flywheel and enabling delivery, this is like rocket fuel for the digital flywheel in China."

Coffee consumption in China has nearly tripled in the past four years, according to the International Coffee Organization and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On Starbucks' third-quarter conference call, Starbucks China CEO Belinda Wong told investors that "our new delivery service will adhere to the high standards our customers in China have come to expect ... as we expand our business [there]."

Shares of Starbucks closed down 0.88 percent on Wednesday at $51.93. The stock ticked up slightly in after-hours trading to $52 a share.

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From: Sr K11/2/2018 11:40:41 AM
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All-time high today, 65.68 earlier, and then a slight pullback below 65.

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From: Sr K7/9/2020 9:12:38 PM
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Updated July 9, 2020 6:29 pm ET

Starbucks Corp. will require customers in the U.S. to wear masks at company-operated stores starting next week, as retailers look to keep employees and patrons safe amid rising coronavirus cases in parts of the country.

Customers will have to wear masks in about 8,900 stores Starbucks runs beginning July 15, the company said in a blog post Thursday. The number of new coronavirus cases have hit new daily highs this week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and hospitalizations are straining hospital systems in several states.

Companies with consumer businesses have faced many challenges in trying to figure out how to safely operate stores during the Covid-19 pandemic. As the virus spread earlier this spring, some retailers and restaurant chains that stayed open had to race to buy masks and other protective equipment for employees.

Costco Wholesale Corp. in May faced criticism and a boycott over its decision to require that all customers wear a mask. Employees and security guards have faced attacks by some patrons who refused to cover their faces.

Starbucks is sending signage about the new mask requirement to store managers and offering them resources on how to de-escalate situations where customers won’t wear masks, the Seattle-based company said in a message to employees viewed by The Wall Street Journal. In some cases, workers may have to “respectfully refuse service with kindness,” according to the memo.

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