retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNN reports that Starbucks said yesterday that it plans to have 55,000 stores in its global fleet by 2030, up from its current store count of 33,000.

According to the story, "The company is betting that by flooding the market with new types of stores, including smaller locations and ones with drive-thru and curbside pickup, it will be able to steal more customers from the competition."

Roz Brewer, the company's COO, told investors yesterday that "though we are growing off a large base, there is ample room to expand in regions where the Starbucks brand is less penetrated."  The current base of stores is weighted toward "high volume, high margin, suburban drive-thrus."

"As we introduce more efficient formats, we're reducing the long lines that sometimes occur in metro locations, unlocking more sales," Brewer said.

CNN notes that Starbucks "has been struggling to regain the business lost during the pandemic, when commuting routines were disrupted as many office employees worked from home."  Many Starbucks stores closed for a time, and when they reopened were limited to take-out service, undermining the company's core value as a "third place" for consumers.

KC's View:

To me, it is not the number of new stores that is most interesting.  Rather, it is the new formats that Starbucks is going to test as it pivots away from the traditional store format that has gotten it this far.  I suspect there will be some lessons therein from which a lot of retailers will be able to learn.