New Delhi: US-based coffee chain Starbucks on Wednesday said India will become one of its top five global markets in the long-term and will continue to expand aggressively here. The company, which has missed its target of opening 50 outlets in the country by 2012 at an investment of Rs 400 crore, however, remained non-committal on by when it would be able reach the milestone.
"We are committed to India for the long-term and we want to grow aggressively here. India will be our top five markets around the world over a long-term," Starbucks Coffee President (China and Asia Pacific) John Culver told reporters here. He, however, declined to share any time-frame and said currently the US, Canada, Japan, the UK and China are its top five markets. Starbucks is present in India as an equal joint venture with Tata Global Beverages.
When asked specifically if Starbucks is still committed to opening of 50 cafes and investing Rs 400 crore in India, Culver said: "From the Starbucks perspective, we are a publicly traded company. We do not release those figures publicly...We did not do those numbers specifically from a Starbucks perspective." During a joint press conference in January last year, Culver alongwith Tata Global Beverages Vice Chairman R K Krishnakumar had announced plans to open 50 cafes in the country in 2012, entailing an investment of Rs 400 crore.
"The initial investment will be Rs 400 crore between the two partners, and as business expands we will keep moving it up...we are looking at opening 50 stores this year (2012)," Krishnakumar had said. Culver parried a direct reply to a query on reasons for delay in rolling out of Starbucks outlets in India, saying, "We are committed to grow our business here. I don't want to put a number on there. I am not going to comment on any numbers."
Tata Starbucks opened its 7th outlet in India with the inauguration of a new cafe at Connaught Place in New Delhi. Culver said the company will roll out more outlets in the city in the future.
Starbucks had opened its first outlet in India in October 2012 in Mumbai, where it currently has four cafes. Last month, Tata Starbucks opened two more outlets at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here.