After closing more than half of their stores in China this January in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has confirmed in a letter to employees that 85% of 4,290 Starbucks stores in China are open.
“With the number of new cases in China slowing, we are seeing the early signs of a recovery in the region,” Johnson said in the letter to employees. “As a result, the situation is improving throughout much of China […] We continue to assess the ongoing impact.”
Johnson tweeted a video of Belinda Wong, CEO of Starbucks China, confirming the news live from the recently reopened Shanghai Roastery.
“We closed the store for 30 days and this morning we’re so excited we could open the store again and as I walked in [..] the partners were so happy to be able to serve our customers coffee again,” Wong said in the video, in which she is wearing a surgical face mask.
As reports and confirmed cases of coronavirus soar in other nations including Italy, Iran, and South Korea, numbers of coronavirus cases in China appeared at the beginning of the month to peak and then reach a plateau. On Feb. 12, China’s National Health Commission began to reorganize patients who exhibited symptoms, according to CNBC News. As a result, the number of China’s total confirmed cases rose dramatically on Feb. 16 from 51,174 to 70,635, the World Health Organization has confirmed.
“This past month has been a very difficult period for our country, our Starbucks partners and their families,” Wong said in the social media video. “At the peak [of coronavirus], we had closed more than half of our stores. But that was necessary to protect the safety of our partners and customers. We want to make sure to do our part to not spread the virus in this country.”
Starbucks China represents 10% of the company’s total global revenues and in an earnings call with investors in January, the company would not divulge exactly how much business would be affected by the temporary store closures in the longterm.
As of Dec. 29, Starbucks operates 31,795 stores globally.
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