Starbucks challenges Colombian rival

Starbucks challenges Colombian rival

2014-07-17 09:43

Bogota - Starbucks, the US-based global coffee behemoth, jolted the Colombian coffee scene on Wednesday by opening a three-storey shop just a few metres away from the local favourite.

The store is the first of 50 that Starbucks plans to set up in the South American country, where the Juan Valdes brand has enjoyed national sway for years.

Howard Schultz, chief executive of Starbucks who was on hand for the opening, said at a press conference that Starbucks has "great respect" for the competition. Its goal was "to win over consumers with high-quality products".

He saluted the coffee producers of Colombia.

Schultz called Colombia "one of the most important" sources of coffee for the world. "We're here to offer another interpretation of Colombian coffee," he said.

The multinational will operate in Colombia in partnership with Nutresa and the Mexican company Grupo Alsea. It plans to invest $30m over the next five years to open 50 stores, which will generate 1 000 jobs.

Alberto Torrado, president of Alsea, said the intention was to "generate new patterns of consumption" so that the entire industry in Colombia will grow at the same pace as Starbucks.

"By the end of the year we will have five stores in Bogota," Torrado said.