Wednesday 6 August 2008

Begining of the End for Starbucks?

Ali was kind enough to think about me today as she read a news report on the BBC's business pages. (I'm not sure what I'm more impressed about - the fact that Ali thought of me or that she reads the business news!)

It looks like Starbucks are planning to close 61 of its stores in Australia - more than 70% of its business! This reminded me of news last week that for the first time since Starbucks went public 16 years ago they have encountered a loss in their quarterly finances. Is this a sign of changing times for Starbucks?

However, I have more conclusive proof! I decided to take my game of visiting every Starbucks in ROI a little more seriously and have knocked off a few more from my target. (Look out for a future blog about this on 17th September).

Currently, the Starbucks website for the Republic of Ireland shows that there are 25 stores waiting to be visited. My current figure is 15. (Although it could be 16 as I can't remember if have been to the one at Liffey Valley shopping centre. I should have taken photos!)

BUT, I have my suspicions that Starbucks are not as big as they say they are! I recently noticed that there were two listed in Blackrock. I'd already visited the one in the old Post Office, so I purposefully went back to the town last weekend. There was no trace of the second store and one of the baristas at the Post Office told me they were the only ones. On closer inspection of the website listing the "second" store is given the same street address that the Post Office is on. This double listing also causes me to doubt that the details of the store at the IFSC in Dublin and a store on Custom House Quay are not two separate stores, but one. The IFSC is located on Custom House Quay!

But wait, there's more!

The clincher for me that Starbucks are in trouble is the fact I have noticed in a couple of their stores (and I presume nationwide) that they are offering FREE REFILLS on their filter coffee. Now, I whole heartedly welcome the introduction of free refills (most places on this side of the Atlantic are too tight to make that offer), but I have never come across this at Starbucks. Bring on the loyalty cards too!

What does this mean for Starbucks in Ireland? Interestingly, what could this mean for Starbucks in Dalkey? (Check out some of the comments since I posted a while back).

I don't know! What do you think?

What I do think is that I better finish my game quickly before I wind up with a sense of failure if a store closes before I get to it.


Ali said...

Nice piece Cosmo ... and funny, I had a conversation yesterday about Starbucks now offering free refills too. Things ARE bad!

On an aside, I'm glad I have managed, at long last, to impress someone with my reading of the business section of the BBC website ;-)

Dana said...

Wow, things are bad. We have had news reports of 600 stores closing here in the states.

I've not seen any closing in my part of Houston, so I'm not sure where exactly.

I am sad to report that I am completely addicted. I've gone to the Venti side and I love it.

Although, I don't get fancy drinks. Just coffee...

Cosmo said...

Wow, Venti! That's a serious cup of coffee. I may just challenge myself.

Pluto said...

You plan to visit every Starbucks in ROI. Now that's a brilliant plan!

I don't believe Ali actually reads the business section of the BBC. I think she stumbled across it by accident while looking for some girlie website.

Ali said...

I was in Starbucks in the Buchanan centre, Glasgow for breakfast yesterday. Just thought you should know :-)

Pluto, I liked you better when you were incarcerated!

Cosmo said...

Thanks, Pluto. There are better ways of spending your time, but I feel it gives a sense of purpose in life.

Ali, it's always nice to hear people's breakfast choices. For me today was cereal and croisants. Tomorrow, waffles!!

David said...

Cosmo, I compliment you on your goal. It is nice to have goals. Good luck in your pursuit. I am just trying to hit my neighborhood starbucks twice a week. I can hit that goal.

Cosmo, I just added a link to your site from mine. After 10 months I figured out how to do it.

Enjoy your coffee. I look forward to Sept 17th.

Ali said...

Cosmo, I've nominated you for a wee meme ... please see my blog for the details!