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Starbucks (US) Signs Licensee SouthRock to Run Shops in Brazil

15 Mar 2018 - Starbucks is transferring its 113 company locations in Brazil to a well-regarded multi-brand operator who plans to expand the Seattle-based coffeehouse chain’s presence in the region.

The value of the deal made with Sao Paulo-based SouthRock, which owns and operates restaurants inside Brazil’s largest airports, was not disclosed. The agreement, announced Tuesday, will allow SouthRock to grow Starbucks retail operations in Rio de Janerio and Sao Paulo, as well to expand to new markets such as Brasilia and the South, SouthRock founder Ken Pope said.

Pope has previously invested in other international food brands including Eataly Brazil.

Ricardo Rico, general manager and vice president for Starbucks licensed store operations in Latin America, said SouthRock is a strong local business partner that can meet the chain’s long-term growth plan for Brazil.

“SouthRock has a solid track record of bringing unique retail experiences to customers in Brazil,” Rico said in a statement. “They are the ideal partner to take the Starbucks brand into the next phase of profitable growth in Brazil.”

Starbucks opened its first cafes in Brazil in December 2006. It now has units in 17 cities across the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Other U.S.-based quick-service companies with a presence in Brazil include McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Yum! Brands Inc.

“With the transition of ownership in Brazil, Starbucks retail operations across all 17 markets in Latin America and the Caribbean will become wholly licensed,” the company stated.

Starbucks locations can be found in Argentina, Aruba and Curacao, Bahamas, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Later this year, Starbucks plans to open its first unit in Uruguay. The Montevideo location is part of a new licensing agreement with longtime Starbucks partner Alsea, a leading restaurant operator in Latin America and Spain. Alsea operates Starbucks locations in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia.

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