Starbucks To Scale Back London Stores

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 101 months ago
Starbucks To Scale Back London Stores

2509_starbucks.jpg Anti-globalisers and fans of Naomi Klein, rejoice — the wave of Starbucks has broken and may be receding back down the shore. The Seattle-based company is closing a number of its London stores, which has one of the greatest concentrations of Starbucks cafes in the world, after suffering its biggest losses since it opened here in 1998. It will aso try to "de-clone" its remaining stores by introducing faux-local ("fauxcal"?) touches like community notice boards and antique furniture.

It's easy to hypocritically hold Starbucks up for special criticism for their aggressive business practices, and many do — theirs are often the first windows to be smashed by activists at G20 or World Trade Organisation meetings — and for those who define themselves and their individuality by the non-chain businesses they patronise, or simply for fans of the city's independent coffee houses, this will be Good News Indeed. Might make life a little easier, too, for "Starbucks Tourist" Winter.

Starbucks does, however, if we're prepared to look beyond the hyperbole, offer a fairly decent cup of coffee, pretty good pastries, and a place to sit and enjoy them, without being hassled into leaving or guilted into buying another cup. So would we miss them if they went?

Photo by Simon-K

Last Updated 25 September 2009

SallyB

Nope.:)

SM

Yes. Unless you want ex-Starbuckers filling the seats in your local coffee joint?

BethPH

I actually don't really like Starbucks coffee. It's very weak and they give you far too much of it.

Caroline

Agreed. They're okay if you really need a quick fix but their coffee really isn't anything special. I'd be happier to see them stay if they introduced some of my back home favourites, such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte!

MikeyV

I'd just like to say that Starbucks are consistently rated as one of the best employers to work for...they give great benefits and treat their employees really quite well.

Also, they have a strong sense of corporate social responsibility. See this quote from Fortune magazine:
"A pioneer in the area of corporate responsibility, Starbucks (Research) broke the mold in the fast-food industry by offering health-care benefits and stock (called "bean stock") even to part-time workers. It is now forging partnerships with coffee growers around the world that are designed to give growers a fair price for their beans -- often higher than the so-called Fair Trade price -- and to promote sound environmental practices. Starbucks also seeks to become more "green" at the retail level by, for instance, offering a 10-cent discount to customers who bring their own cups."

IanVisits

Too much coffee - how evil of them ;)

Don't forget though, not everyone actually likes ultra strong coffees.

I find the almost burnt stuff that comes from cafe nero (for example) to be quite vile for relaxed sipping.

IanVisits

If you are a loyalty card holder, then you also get free wi-fi in Starbucks now.

It also tends to be more reliable than the "home router" that many small coffee shops pretends is a decent service.

Dave

I really don't mind Starbucks. Their shops generally seem pleasant enough, and the coffee isn't as bad as some of the other chains'.

Sure, I'm damning them with faint praise there, and I would prefer to see local independent coffee shops instead. But that's not going to happen in many of Starbucks' locations, so I think I'd prefer to see Starbucks instead of an alternative chain.

tf

BS (before Starbucks) not the other BS, decent coffee in the USA was very difficult to find. At least there is a choice now. The plus side is now Americans know that coffee isn't supposed to taste like dishwater, minus side, world domination takeover style always pisses people off. Last but most important taste-wise, I think their coffee is a little over-roasted. Maybe it's good for the garden, the shops in some stores in the US give away free large bags of coffee grounds for your garden.