Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) will open a store in Vietnam, and why not. The investment is tiny, if meant to determine whether the coffee shop chain can take a piece of the morning drink beverage in the nation of 88 million people. That population makes it one of the 15 largest countries in the world, based on that measure.
An aggressive move into Asia is part of Starbucks’ plans to expand. It can follow the lead of firms like McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) and the KFC division of Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM). According to Bloomberg:
The cafe is scheduled to open in Ho Chi Minh City, the Seattle-based brewer said in an e-mailed statement. Hong Kong Maxim’s Group subsidiary Coffee Concept Ltd., which already has stores in Hong Kong and Macau, will operate the location and is the licensee for Vietnam, Starbucks said.
Starbucks, which got 5.4 percent of fiscal 2012 revenue from the 3,300 stores in China and Asia Pacific, has been expanding in the region to help boost sales as U.S. store growth has stagnated since 2009. Asia is the largest and most immediate retail growth opportunity for Starbucks, John Culver, president of China and Asia Pacific, said at a conference in December.
Douglas A. McIntyre