Starbucks closes 2,000 stores in China over coronavirus outbreak

People walk past a branch of the American coffee chain Starbucks in Beijing, China. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

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Starbucks has closed more than 2,000 outlets in China and cautioned that its annual financial results had been threatened by the coronavirus, highlighting the challenges facing corporate America from the spread of the deadly infection.

In a sign of the scale of the disruption in China, the coffee chain on Tuesday said it had shut temporarily more than half of its near-4,300 cafés in the country, Starbucks’ largest market outside the US and its most important global growth engine.
Starbucks’ disclosure about its China shutdowns comes at a time of nervousness on Wall Street about the financial implications of the coronavirus, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and multiplied throughout the country and abroad.

Starbucks has been among the most aggressive of western chains in expanding in China.

The move highlights the major challenges facing global corporations from the spread of the deadly virus.

Apple boss Tim Cook has said his company is “closely monitoring” the coronavirus outbreak, which has clouded its forecast for the upcoming quarter.

The technology giant has limited travel and reduced store hours in China, while its suppliers’ factories remain closed longer than expected.

Earlier this week Facebook became the first big US firm to tell staff to avoid travelling to China.

The social media giant said it was acting “out of an abundance of caution” to protect its employees.

 

Read more via FT/NPR/BBC

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