After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.
The countdown to the Starbucks launch in India has begun. News coming in from retail industry sources suggests that the global coffee chain, which has an 50:50 joint venture in India with Tata Global Beverages, has recently shortlisted three locations in Mumbai, where it plans to debut its distinctive coffee chain of stores. This is the first real signal that preparations are afoot for a big-bang launch in October, at least a month behind schedule. Tata Starbucks had announced its plan to launch in India nearly six months ago.
The three locations are spread across the city: the Oberoi Mall in Goregaon (East) in the western suburbs; Horniman Circle, a premium location for luxury brands in south Mumbai and Ceejay House, one of the most premium commercial real estate, in mid-town Worli. A questionnaire sent to Starbucks via its official PR agency Edelman went unanswered. (See their response as an update below)
According to people in the know, Tata Starbucks signed on an outlet in Oberoi Mall in May this year. The mall has been the first port of call for marquee food and beverage brands. American ice-cream company Hagen Dazs had opened its first outlet in the city at Oberoi Mall, before venturing to Phoenix Mills a prominent mall in south Mumbai. The Starbucks store will be located right next to Hagen Dazs.
Apart from malls, the coffee chain is actively scouting for high street locations in the city. Among the choices the company is considering is Horiman Circle Gardens, near the city’s business district. Last year, the area received a re-rating from retailers after luxury brand Hermes set up a showroom there. Since then brands like Zara and Calvin Klein have considered setting shop there.