Starbucks- big headline from downunder

So a while back the company announced the closure of 600 stores in the US- Imainly underperforming stores in a slowing economy where retailers, banks are struggling. I think the fact they are now closing 61 (or 2/3rds) of the stores in Australia at very short notice is actually very telling- and worrying for the coffee giant.

I guess in Australia the brand has somewhat struggled against some fairly well founded independent and home grown brands that have been around a long time, in a country that has its coffee roots in the European migrant wave after WWII. However, I am quite suprised that despite the competetion, the company has decided to really cut back presence in a Market that is coffee savy and an economy that is still doing pretty well in comparision with the US. It would be interesting to hear comments from some of the Aussies on Coffee forum- ChrisKKK???

SYDNEY (AFP) — US coffee chain Starbucks announced plans Tuesday to close 61 of its 84 stores in Australia within a week.

The company said on its Australian website that it was undergoing a "geographical refocus" so it could concentrate on the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

"This decision will result in the closure of 61 locations throughout the country by August 3," it said.

The move comes after Starbucks in the United States announced earlier this month that it was closing 600 stores.


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Sep 19, 2008
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More and more "average" coffee drinkers (myself included) are becoming "officionardos".
and not getting their "fix" of the perfect culture any longer from the urban sophisitcate that is Starbucks ?

Just an observation.

I personally have not entered a Starbucks in approx 2 years. I found the product, mediochre back then.
An exciting trend seems to be the opening of a number of small privately owned cafes in the most unlikely of places. Tucked away between warehouses and large city fringe industrial complexes. Serving fairly good product and equally importantly, meeting the cultural expectations of a clientelle who now owns a certain no frills mentality towards coffee and knows what it is supposed to taste like.

For me personally, I would seek out and sip coffee in any hole in the wall dive that looked busy, rather than some larger and more recognisable franchise.
Indeed NZ and Australia are probably 2 markets that Starbucks should not have jumped into at the time they DID jump into them. Both markets have had, since the 1970's in Australia's case, and the early 1990's in NZ's case, very sophisticated independent cafe markets driven by (well at last until recently) excellent independent roasters, produing quality coffee that can compete anywhere in the world. The rise of quality independents in both countries was driven primarily by the immigrant communities that arrived in both countries after WW2- Italians, Greeks, Spanish, Turks and Lebanese in Australia, and Dutch, Italian and Yugoslavs in NZ (Forget the british wave of tea drinkers, although their arrival did help our cricket team).

To be honest, I am suprised that SBX has done OK in NZ. The master franchisee, Restaurant Brands that also runs Pizza Hut and KFC, has released figures showing steady, albeit not spectacular returns on the brand. I would LOVE to see a breakdown of where these stores actually do well. I amthinking probably in the cities with a new wave of Asian migration- SBX is an icon in all the Asian countries I deal with. That would mean probably the Auckland and Christchurch stores do well...others struggle.