SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — Starbucks Korea reported a 28 percent on-year jump in its operating profit in the first half of the year amid rising appetite for premium coffee, discount store chain E-Mart said Tuesday.
From January to June, the U.S. coffee giant posted an operating profit of 74.7 billion won (US$61 million) in Korea, up from 58.3 billion won in the year-ago period, according to E-Mart’s first-half earnings results.
E-Mart, the country’s biggest discount store chain operated by Shinsegae Group, holds a 50 percent stake in Starbucks Korea, with the other 50 percent controlled by its U.S. parent Starbucks.
South Korea is one of the fastest growing premium coffee markets, and Starbucks expects further growth in this country.
Sales also jumped 25 percent to 887.7 billion won in the first half from 709 billion won a year earlier, the data showed. Net earnings were not available.
Starbucks, which entered Korea in 1999, currently operates a total of 1,308 stores, including 50 upscale Starbucks Reserve outlets, in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy.
Starbucks has advanced to 78 countries, but Starbucks Reserve outlets are available in only 28 nations. China has the highest number of Starbucks Reserve stores with 97, and Japan has only six.
Starbucks Korea earned 1.5 trillion won in sales last year, up 20 percent from 1.28 trillion won a year earlier.