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Starbucks is reportedly exploring the sale of its U.K. business, its largest market in EMEA

July 18, 2022, 5:13 AM UTC
People wait outside Starbucks on Portobello Road in London in 2020, following the introduction of measures to bring England out of lockdown.
Kirsty O'Connor—PA Images/Getty Images

Starbucks Corp. has asked its adviser Houlihan Lokey to assess interest for its U.K. operations, the Times reported Saturday.

The coffee chain continues to “evaluate strategic options” for its company-owned international operations, the newspaper reported, without specifying how it obtained the information. 

A Starbucks spokesperson told Bloomberg it “is not in a formal sale process for the company’s U.K. business.”

The U.K. is Starbucks’ largest market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As of last year, it had 1,000 stores in Britain, with 297 company-owned and 703 run by licensees, the company said in a financial report for the fiscal year ending in October 2021. 

Total revenue was £328 million ($389 million) for the fiscal year, and Starbucks U.K. Coffee had repaid in full a £25 million loan from its parent company to offset losses from reduced sales during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, it said. 

While the coffee chain experienced a rebound in revenue after COVID-19 lockdowns eased in the U.K., it said the financial performance of company-owned stores had not recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Office, travel and inner-city stores had lagged other locations. Starbucks opened 14 new company stores during fiscal year 2021 and closed five, it said.

Earlier this year, market researcher Allegra Group said coffee chains in the U.K. will take four years to recover from the COVID slump. 

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