With Humility and Respect, Starbucks Turns its Eye Toward Italy

Thirty-three years after his initial visit to Milan, chairman and ceo Howard Schultz returns to Italy to announce Starbucks debut in the market that inspired its creation

Company to enter Italian market with noted brand, retail and real estate developer Percassi

MILAN, Italy; February 29, 2016 -- Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today announced a partnership to open the first Starbucks store in Italy. Percassi, confirmed as Starbucks licensee in Italy, will own and operate Starbucks stores, with the first store opening in Milan in early 2017.

Today’s announcement is especially significant for Starbucks Coffee Company chairman and ceo Howard Schultz. Thirty-three years ago, Schultz took his first business trip to Milan and Verona, a journey that changed his life forever. Inspired by the craftsmanship of the Milanese barista, the spirit of the Italian people, their passion for community, their friendliness and taste for quality, Schultz’s vision for Starbucks began to take root.

“Starbucks history is directly linked to the way the Italians created and executed the perfect shot of espresso. Everything that we’ve done sits on the foundation of those wonderful experiences that many of us have had in Italy, and we’ve aspired to be a respectful steward of that legacy for 45 years,” said Schultz. “Now we’re going to try, with great humility and respect, to share what we’ve been doing and what we’ve learned through our first retail presence in Italy. Our first store will be designed with painstaking detail and great respect for the Italian people and coffee culture. And, my hope is that we will create a sense of pride for our partners – so much so that every partner who sees our store or walks through the doors will say: ‘We got it right.’”

Related: A Dream 33 Years in the Making

Working together with Percassi, Starbucks chosen partner in Italy, the company’s retail stores will be developed in cities across the country, beginning with the first store in Milan. Percassi, the licensee, is a renowned Italian company with a proven track record of operating highly-successful major brand partnerships across Italy. The company shares Starbucks values and passion for the history and cultural heritage of Italy, and will combine local expertise with demonstrated business success to make every single store an exciting, unique experience for new Italian customers. Starbucks is expected to open its first Italian store in Milan in early 2017.

"We know that we are going to face a unique challenge with the opening of the first Starbucks store in Italy, the country of coffee, and we are confident that Italian people are ready to live the Starbucks experience, as already occurs in many other markets," said Antonio Percassi, President of the company Percassi.

Starbucks and Percassi share common values and a commitment to creating pathways to youth opportunities and employment in communities right across Italy. Starbucks will partner with Percassi to support local projects our store partners love to work with around the world.

Italian Translation Press Release

Photo Captions:

1. Howard Schultz, chairman and ceo Starbucks Coffee Company, visited the historic Duomo cathedral in Milan, Italy this week as he announces the brand's intention to open its first Italian store in 2017.

2.Howard Schultz, chairman and ceo Starbucks Coffee Company, announces to Milanese artisans, entrepreneurs and business leaders his intention to open a store in Milan, Italy in 2017.

3. Howard Schultz, chairman and ceo Starbucks Coffee Company, stands in the center of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world's oldest shopping malls, in Milan, Italy as he announces that Starbucks will open its first store in the country in 2017.

About Starbucks

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with more than 23,000 stores around the globe, Starbucks is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit our stores or online at news.starbucks.com and Starbucks.com.

About Percassi

Founded in 1976 by Antonio Percassi, it is a business company whose activities are focused on managing its portfolio of own trademarks (Kiko Milano, Madina, Womo and Bullfrog in cosmetics, Vergelio in footwear, Atalanta in sports, Da 30Polenta in food services) or in joint venture (Billionaire Italian Couture in clothing), in addition to the development and the management of the sales networks of important brands (among which Gucci, Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike, Victoria's Secret and LEGO Group). In the past Percassi developed stores worldwide for the Benetton Group and contributed to the entry and growth in the Italian market of Inditex (Zara, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Pull and Bear, Bershka, Stradivarius) as well as of Swatch, Calvin Klein, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger and Levi's. Percassi operates also in the Real Estate business with the development and improvement of major real estate projects in the sales and managerial sector, always at the forefront of innovation and high quality. For more information: www.percassi.com.

thumbnail for Barista Champions Reunite: a London reunion brews up coffee and career inspiration

Barista Champions Reunite: a London reunion brews up coffee and career inspiration