Starbucks’ annual sales surpass 1 trillion won

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Starbucks’ annual sales surpass 1 trillion won


The first Starbucks branch in Korea, near Ewha Womans University. [STARBUCKS KOREA]

Starbucks Korea has become the first coffee franchise in the country to surpass 1 trillion won in annual sales.

The company said its sales last year jumped nearly 30 percent from 2015’s 773.9 billion won ($683.4 million) and twofold compared to its 482.2 billion won in 2013. Its operating profit was 85.4 billion won last year, a 81.2 percent jump year on year.

Starbucks’ revenue is impressive considering its local competitors - A Twosome Place, Angel-in-us and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf - all have annual sales between 100 billion and 200 billion won.

The U.S.-based coffee chain debuted in the Korean market in 1999 with its first branch near Ewha Womans University in central Seoul. It reached a milestone of 1,000 local branches in December.

The two main reasons behind Starbucks’ recent success in Korea, analysts suggest, are the new menus and its localization strategy.

Starbucks Korea seemed to return to strengthening basics like high-quality coffee beans and expanding its selection of leaf tea last year. Its brewed coffee released in April, Starbucks Cold Brew, was the third most popular drink after Americano and latte through spring and summer despite being sold in limited amounts. The Teavana series, launched in September, boosted the pie share of tea sales from 3.3 percent to 10.5 percent in the first three months of release.

Starbucks Korea’s localization strategy is demonstrated in product development and digital marketing. Korea is the only country outside of the U.S. that has a design team in charge of Starbucks’ goods.

The Siren Order, which allows consumers to remotely place orders via an app, launched in Korea to satisfy tech-savvy consumers and has been used more than 15 million times since its launch in 2014.

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