Starbucks opens first Italian store this week

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags: Coffee, Retailers

The first Starbucks in Italy will open in Milan this week: hoping to entice drinkers in a country known for its coffee with an immersive retailing experience and specialty coffee. It is also partnering with Milanese bakery Princi to add a local flavor to its store.

Starbucks says the Milan store illustrates a full circle for the brand – founder Howard Schultz, chairman emeritus, credits a trip to Milan in 1983 as the inspiration for the company.

Opening its doors to the public tomorrow (Friday 7), the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery is situated in the former post office in Palazzo della Poste on the fashionable Piazza Cordusio. Starbucks says the roastery ‘is a celebration of Italian coffee culture and artisanal food from Princi, but also a showcase of next-level coffee art and innovation’.

Starbucks has more than 25,000 stores across 77 countries, but the Italian store is only its third Reserve Roastery style store, coming after Seattle and Shanghai. Reserve Roasteries seek to offer a more interactive and sensory experience for consumers, giving them the chance to see and learn about processes such as coffee roasting and brewing. 

Symbolic move

The new store in Milan

Starbucks is the leading specialty coffee shop in the world, with 46.2% of the global market, according to market research provider Euromonitor International.

In Italy, four of the top five specialty coffee shops are local players, with the exception of McDonald’s, which leads the market at 64.2%. The Italian specialty coffee shops market registered 7.1% growth in 2012-2017 (CAGR - foodservice value sales).

Specialty coffee shops are defined by Euromonitor as those that focus primarily on serving a large variety of coffee types and coffee-related products; but also develop a wider range of food and snacks and present a modern environment and designer décor.

Alexandre Loeur, senior analyst, Euromonitor International, said: “In Italy, Starbucks isn’t simply opening another store, it is opening a roastery, an immersive retailing experience the company used to enter the Chinese market.

“While snobbery might initially prevail, the younger generations are more open to the type of specialty coffee offered by the Seattle based brand. We can therefore infer that Starbucks could do well, in the medium to long-term.

“For Starbucks, Italy is more a symbolic move than a true revenue generating operation, however with the help of their flagship store, the long-term strategy is to slowly get Italian consumers used to larger coffee sizes and open more traditional coffeeshops.

“Starbucks hopes its partnership with Milanese bakery Princi will bring a local flavour that will convince the more sceptical consumers.” 

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