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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Starbucks expects India to be among its top five markets

NEW DELHI: Starbucks Coffee, the world's largest coffeehouse chain, expects India to be among its top five markets as it looks to continue expanding its operations in the country. "India is a strategic market and one day it will be among our top five markets," said John Culver, group president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, who was in India to mark the Seattle-based company's two years in operations in the country.

"We are very optimistic about the market in India where the response has been tremendous for the last two years," Culver told ET.Besides expanding its presence in the country, Starbucks also plans to export locally sourced coffee to select stores in other Asian countries and sell it online in the United States.

The coffee, known as the 'Indian Estates Blend' coffee, was launched last year on the completion of the brand's one year in the country.Tata StarbucksLtd, a 50:50 joint venture between Starbucks and Tata Global Beverages, currently operate 59 stores in six cities including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. It has 1,000 employees.

In 2012, the joint venture said it will earmark $80 million initial investment to open 50 stores in the country.Culver declined to comment on future investment and the number of stores it plans to open, but said India is a longterm market for Starbucks.India's coffee retailing market is estimated at more than Rs 1,700 crore and is growing over 20% a year. Established players in the market include Cafe Coffee Day, Barista and Costa Coffee.

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