Dozens of new Starbucks ($SBUX) stores are coming online in Asia. Nature is healing.
As the world's most popular coffee chain is revving up US operations and preparing to socially-distance customers while still serving their coffees, there is ample data signaling a rebound for Starbucks stores in China and other Asian countries.
It's especially notable because Starbucks had ramped up Chinese operations aggressively - before shutting down thousands of locations in January as Coronavirus began to grip the East - and because data from economies that shut down before America's may provide valuable signals to apply to our own markets.
Starbucks' store count in South Korea hasn't just rebounded - it continued to grow throughout the pandemic, and recently accelerated as the company's data reflects about 100 new locations being put online in 2020, and the biggest surge to date coming in early May.
In South Korea, officials' quick and aggressive response to the virus allowed it to quickly reduce the pandemic's spread. And, thanks to how well and how quickly South Korean officials headed off the pandemic, it seems as if Starbucks is poised to get operations back on track.
China has far greater saturation of Starbucks stores, in part because the company has made a dedicated effort to expand there - something that a number of US chains are doing to try and tap into a booming consumer market. Recently, dozens of new locations were added, according to the company's data posted online and shown above.
Based on Starbucks' prior pace of growth in China, it's unlikely this figure will remain at its current level for long. And, China is getting more investment from Starbucks on an operational level - the company announced in March another production facility near Shanghai. Right now, China is a potentially viable marketplace for Starbucks, as one of its top competitors there - Luckin Coffee - is facing a fraud investigation.
China and South Korea are far from the only Asian countries where we're able to tell via data that corporate operations are ramping up. Starbucks has been active in other jurisdictions as well. Below, we track all of Starbucks' global locations, via our mapping tool.
About the data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.