Starbucks CEO: ‘We are playing the long game in China’

Starbucks China

Despite growing concern about the slowing growth of the Chinese economy, Starbucks is holding onto optimism about its second-largest market.

“We continue to play the long game in China,” CEO Kevin Johnson told analysts on the company’s quarterly conference call.

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Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs predicted that Starbucks would be the next company to warn about weak Chinese sales. Apple and McDonald’s have already warned investors about softening China sales as a result of the country’s slowing economy.

But Thursday, Starbucks said it remains confident that it can navigate those macroeconomic conditions. John Culver, president of international, channel development and global coffee & tea, said that the coffee giant has proven that it can handle a changing consumer and different economic conditions. This month marks its 20th anniversary in the country.

China, which is also the company’s fastest growing market, saw same-store sales increase by 1 percent during the first quarter. Transactions, however, dropped by 2 percent.

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