Starbucks stores in Russia reopen as Stars Coffee, with an almost identical logo

The company's assets were part-purchased by a rapper

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First it was McDonald's receiving the rebranding treatment in Russia, and now it is Starbucks reappearing under a different name.

The world's largest coffee chain company pulled out of Russia in May after about 15 years in the country, owing to the conflict with Ukraine and subsequent sanctions from western countries.

The Seattle-based company had 130 stores in Russia, operated by its licensee, Kuwait's Alshaya Group, with about 2,000 employees in the country.

The assets were purchased by a partnership comprising rapper Timur Yunusov, better known as Timati, businessman Anton Pinsky and Sindica company, according to Russia's state news agency Tass, and have reopened under the name Stars Coffee.

"We, as Sindica Holding, always support proactive growth. Therefore, if [we] see our financial return forecasts are proving to be true, we will immediately start opening in new places, probably in new cities," said Sindica president Oleg Eskindarov.

The Starbucks logo and Stars Coffee logo. Photo: Starbucks / Stars Coffee

"Moscow and St Petersburg will certainly remain the base ones for us."

A launch took place in Moscow, with Timati presenting the new brand, which has a logo consisting of a woman with a star above her head — very similar to that of Starbucks.

"People's perceptions may be different," said Mr Pinskiy. "But if you compare, then apart from the circle, you won't find anything in common."

The shops are due to open on Friday and will gradually open throughout the remainder of August and September.

Stars Coffee imports beans from Latin America and Africa, Mr Pinskiy told Reuters, with suppliers of other items based in Russia.

"We just found other suppliers, found the right roasters and because the baristas mixed it all correctly, we have a product that we think will be competitive," he said.

US fast-food company McDonald's also pulled out of Russia in May, along with a host of other western brands.

McDonald's reopened in June under the ownership of Vkusno i tochka, which translates into "Tasty and that's it".

The new outlets, sporting a fresh logo, offer burgers and chips, which some said tasted and appeared much the same as they did under the McDonald's branding.

However, after initial big queues, the restaurant chain has run into problems with sourcing potatoes due to supply chain disruption.

The company announced last week that it planned to reopen restaurants in Ukraine, having closed them in March.

It continued to pay the salaries of more than 10,000 employees, and said that the reopening would "support a small but important sense" of normality.

Updated: August 19, 2022, 12:42 PM