Starbucks reopens most of China stores as new coronavirus infections fall: 'Early signs of recovery'

Julia La Roche

Starbucks (SBUX) said on Thursday that 85 percent of its China stores are open after closing more than half them amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“With the number of new cases in China slowing, we are seeing the early signs of a recovery in the region,” CEO Kevin Johnson wrote in a letter to employees.

“As a result, the situation is improving throughout major parts of China. We now have 85 percent of stores open across China and continue to assess the ongoing impact,” he added.

Earlier this month, Starbucks said it had temporarily closed more than half of its China stores.

“That was necessary to protect the safety of our partners and our customers, and we also want to make sure we do our part to not help spread the virus in this country,” Starbucks China CEO Belinda Wong said in a video posted on Twitter from inside the 30,000-square-foot Shanghai Roastery, a popular destination that reopened on Wednesday after 30 days of being closed.

The company is still assessing the financial impact of store closures in China.

The coffee giant operates 4,100 stores in China, its second-largest and fastest-growing market.

As the world’s largest coffee chain, Starbucks operates more than 31,000 stores across about 75 markets. The company said it’s using its learnings from China to prepare other markets for a potential outbreak.

“We are staying close to the situation in every single market through connections with local health officials and are prepared to take whatever actions necessary, market by market, to ensure the health and well-being of our partners and customers,” Johnson wrote.

Shares of Starbucks were last trading down about 2% at around $78.90. Shares have fallen about 12% in the last month.

Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter

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