Asked for comment, Starbucks shared with CNN Business an email it sent its UK staff over the weekend denying the company is engaged in a “formal sale process” and asserting its desire to remain in the region.
The report comes at a time that the UK economy is in tough shape, making it difficult for businesses to operate and for residents to make ends meet. UK inflation hit 9.1% in May — a 40-year high and the highest rate among the leading G7 economies. And there’s no relief in sight: Inflation is forecast to climb above 11% later this year.
Prospects are bleak for the entire UK economy, according to a report on financial stability published earlier this month from the Bank of England, which said the outlook for the country’s economy had “deteriorated materially.” The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development forecast in June that the UK economy was heading to stagnation, with zero GDP growth forecast for 2023.
That’s a downbeat environment for businesses, especially those still recovering from the difficult pandemic years.
“Traffic continues to come into Central London metro areas, and we are increasing drive-throughs in that market at a significant rate,” he said.
Starbucks had about 300 company-operated stores and roughly another 800 licensed locations in the United Kingdom as of October 2021. The coffee chain launched operations in the UK in 1998.
— CNN Business’s David Goldman and Mark Thompson contributed to this report.