Starbucks outlines ambitious growth plans at AGM

Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, marked his last Annual Meeting of Shareholders in his current capacity of CEO and honoured the accomplishments of the company in delivering record financial results, including approximately 18,000 per cent in shareholder returns since the company’s Initial Public Offering 25 years ago. Coupled with its long history of creating opportunities for partners (employees) and investing in the communities it serves, Starbucks reinforced its long-term commitment to driving performance through the lens of humanity. “Every hour of every day, someone somewhere is walking into one of our 26,000 Starbucks stores in 75 countries around the world. As we approach our 25th year as a publicly traded company, the Starbucks brand is as relevant today as it has ever been, driven by the 330,000 people who proudly wear the green apron,” said Schultz. Kevin Johnson, who will become Starbucks CEO on April 3, reinforced the company’s approach to elevating the brand across retail, channel development and digital through innovation, reaching new customers and creating new occasions for customer visits. “For almost 50 years we have been in the human connection business, and in today's world the need and desire for that human connection has never been greater. With our growing store footprint all around the globe and the engagement of our partners, we will continue to deliver financial growth to our shareholders, opportunities for our partners, and connect with more and more customers around the world,” said Johnson. “At the heart of this growth is innovation across our business, and I’m fortunate to work alongside the best leadership team in the company’s history as we serve our partners, customers and shareholders to deliver the growth they have come to expect from us.” Starbucks chief technology officer Gerri Martin-Flickinger and China digital VP Molly Liu addressed growth plans for the company’s digital flywheel around the globe. Starbucks continues to offer the largest and most robust mobile ecosystem of any retailer in the world, with over 13 million Starbucks Rewards members, approximately 9 million mobile paying customers, with one out of three now using Mobile Order & Pay, and more than US$6 billion loaded onto prepaid Starbucks Cards in North America during 2016 alone. Today, Starbucks announced the expansion of its Mobile Order & Pay platform to give customers more options to order their favourite Starbucks beverage while on the go, by leveraging its skill for Amazon Alexa announced earlier this year. Now, with the planned integration of Amazon Alexa and Ford vehicles later this year, Starbucks customers with a Ford car equipped with SYNC 3 will be able to order their favourite Starbucks beverage on the go by saying, “Alexa, ask Starbucks to start my order.” Starbucks also shared more details on the expansion of My Starbucks barista, now available to more than 100,000 customers across the US. Powered by groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence for the Starbucks Mobile App, customers can now place their orders via voice command or messaging interface, delivering speed and convenience. In China, customers have continued to embrace the Starbucks brand, with some of the company’s most innovative, efficient and profitable stores producing record revenue and strong same-store sales growth in the 2016 financial year. Starbucks now operates more than 2,600 stores in 127 cities in China and employs nearly 40,000 partners, opening over a store a day – a growth rate that will continue to accelerate well into the future. Starbucks also announced plans to create more than 240,000 jobs globally (68,000 in the US) as it highlighted its growth plans to open 12,000 new stores globally and 3,400 new stores in the US by the 2021 financial year. Starbucks strong financial performance over the last 25 years as a publicly traded company has allowed for strategic investments in social impact initiatives – driving greater connection between partners and the millions of customers it serves in 75 countries worldwide. The company has already reached critical milestones for its hiring initiatives for Veterans, Military Spouses, and Opportunity Youth and announced plans on building on this progress by expanding its hiring goals as it continues to grow the US business. Within this, Starbucks has reached its goal of hiring 10,000 veterans and military spouses ahead of schedule, and is expanding that goal to 25,000 by 2025.

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