Starbucks to exit Russia after suspending activities in March

Coffee chain has 130 stores in Russia, owned and operated by its licensee Alshaya Group, with nearly 2,000 employees

A woman walks past a closed Starbucks cafe in central St Petersburg, Russia, on May 23, 2022. Reuters
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Starbucks said on Monday it will exit the Russian market after nearly 15 years as the coffee chain joins McDonald's in marking the end of the presence of some of the top Western brands in the country.

The Seattle-based company has 130 stores in Russia, operated by its licensee Alshaya Group, with nearly 2,000 employees in the country.

Starbucks' decision to wind down its operation in Russia is different to the approach some other foreign companies have taken.

McDonald's last week said it was selling its restaurants in Russia to its local licensee Alexander Govor to be rebranded under a new name, but will retain its trademarks. Meanwhile, France's Renault is selling its majority stake in Russia's biggest carmaker with an option to buy back the stake.

A number of other Western companies, including Imperial Brands and Shell, are cutting ties with the Russia market by agreeing to sell their assets in the country or handing them over to local managers.

Starbucks did not provide details on the financial impact of the exit. McDonald's had said it would take a primarily non-cash charge of up to $1.4 billion.

Early in March, Starbucks shuttered its stores and suspended all business activity in Russia, including the shipment of its products to the country, following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Starbucks, which opened its first outlet in Russia in 2007, said it will continue to support its employees there, including paying them for six months.

Russian media outlet Sota Vision reported earlier in the day, citing a source, that Starbucks is closing down its Russian legal entity.

Updated: May 23, 2022, 3:00 PM