Starbucks to open Malta stores in 2019

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The db group has secured a licensing agreement with Starbucks
The db group has secured a licensing agreement with Starbucks

Starbucks will open its doors in Malta next year after db Group secured a licensing agreement with the US coffee giant, having outbid competition from a major Maltese beverage company.

And db Group – the developers behind the City Centre project on the former ITS site in Pembroke – intend to open the first outlets in the second quarter of 2019, MaltaToday has learnt.

Sources said the news was announced yesterday at a closed-door meeting db organised for stockbrokers, during which the Group’s annual report for 2018 was also launched.

Arthur Gauci, db Group chief executive officer, announced the acquisition of the licensing agreement but would only say that the first outlets were slated for 2019.

When contacted by MaltaToday, Gauci confirmed the licensing agreement but would not give further details, saying only that full details would be made public in due course.

Starbucks prefers licensing partnerships to franchising, since these allow it to maintain more control over operations.

The licensee will still be responsible for the day to day running of the outlets, but the parent company will have an input in store design, menu, promotions and training.

Starbucks does not issue licensing partnerships lightly, and in fact these do not come cheaply. Industry insiders estimate that a Starbucks licensing agreement for just one outlet can cost anything up to $315,000.

An applicant would need to already have attractive locations where Starbucks would want to open as well as the resources to open those Starbucks outlets. 

In the annual report presented yesterday, Gauci says that the licensing agreement with Starbucks was part of db Group’s quest to sustain a steady expansion of its core business assets and revenue streams.

“It is my pleasure to announce the signing of a licensing agreement with Starbucks to open and operate Starbucks stores in Malta and Gozo,” he wrote. “This world-renowned brand will add a new and exciting dimension to the Group’s international portfolio. Reaching this major milestone fills us with great pride and determination to deliver on the local stage the unique experience which Starbucks has been offering the world since 1971.”

This is not the first major brand that db Group has been successful in partnering with. 

Over the course of the last four decades, the Group has forged strategic relationships with various global players including Hard Rock Café International, the Accor Hotel Group and RIU Hotels & Resorts. The City Centre project will feature the Mediterranean’s third Hard Rock Hotel as well as a number of world-famous bars, restaurants and retail brands.

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