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Starbucks exits Russia after 15 years

Starbucks is closing its 130 licensed cafés in Russia after 15 years, the coffee giant announced. Its licensee Alshaya Group operates these shops, Reuters reported. The company will support the employees to find new jobs:

“As we mentioned on March 8, we have suspended all business activity in Russia, including shipment of all Starbucks products. Starbucks has made the decision to exit and no longer have a brand presence in the market. We will continue to support the nearly 2,000 green apron partners in Russia, including pay for six months and assistance for partners to transition to new opportunities outside of Starbucks,” the company announced. 

The company had suspended all business activity since March. At the time, Kevin Johnson, the retiring CEO of the Seattle-based company, said in a letter: “Our licensed partner has agreed to immediately pause store operations and will provide support to the nearly 2,000 partners in Russia who depend on Starbucks for their livelihood.”

Johnson announced his retirement after five years on the job on March 16, with Howard Schultz returning as interim CEO. The chair of Starbucks’ board, Mellody Hobson, told CNBC that the company intends to select a permanent successor by the fall.

The stores account for less than 1% of the company’s annual revenue, CNBC says.

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