Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 4th 2016 Contents BG4 NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt FEBRUARY 4 • 2016
Prestige Holdings Ltd (PHL), a com-
pany that is listed on T&T s stock
exchange, plans to open 12 new
Starbucks coffee shops in T&T
over the next three years.
PHL announced last week that it had been
appointed as the licensee of Starbucks Coffee
Company for the T&T market and that it
planned to open its first store this year. In the
statement, PHL said the acquisition of the
Starbucks licence marked "a tremendous
achievement for Prestige Holdings as Starbucks
stores will join their brand portfolio with KFC,
Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays and Subway restaurants.
Questioned about the timing of the appoint-
ment of Prestige Holdings amid a recession
in the local market, PHL chief executive Charles
Pashley told the Guardian by email on Tuesday
that his company first initiated discussions
with the Starbucks Corporation over nine years
ago. He said during that time Starbucks had
been focusing on other larger international
markets. Two years ago, those discussions
resumed, culminating in the signing of the
licensing agreement last week.
Despite the economic challenges that the
country faces, Pashley expressed confidence
about the future potential of the Starbucks
brand in T&T.
"With regards to the economic environment,
PHL has always taken a long-term view to its
investments. We recognise that we are currently
facing economic challenges but we are con-
fident in the success of the Starbucks brand
as well as the long-term prospects for the
Trinidad & Tobago economy," he said.
For Starbucks Coffee Company, T&T will
represent the company s 16th market in the
Latin America and Caribbean region. "We are
proud to bring the Starbucks Experience to
Trinidad and Tobago, marking a key milestone
in our continued efforts to expand operations
across the Caribbean," said Ricardo Rico, Star-
bucks vice president for Latin America oper-
ations in a media release last week.
Responding to a question from the Guardian
on Starbucks being perceived as being a luxury
brand and how sales may be affected by people
cutting back on their disposable income given
other demands on their salaries such as VAT,
property tax and NIS contributions, Pashley
replied by saying the brand will be available
to people at all income levels.
He said: "We see Starbucks as a quality
brand which may be considered premium to
some competitors but we believe will be acces-
sible to people of all income levels. We are
very proud to be able to bring the Starbucks
experience to the people of T&T and believe
that there is a place in our market for a high
quality coffee experience."
Despite the challenges from the local busi-
ness sector to access foreign currency, Pashley
repeated that the signing of the agreement
with Starbucks did not happen overnight but
negotiations go back almost a decade.
Questioned on why PHL was launching a
fifth foreign franchise that requires the spend-
ing of foreign exchange at a time when foreign
exchange is increasingly scarce, Pashley said:
"As mentioned above, this has not been a
recent initiative of PHL but one that has been
in the works for some time.
"While there will be some foreign exchange
requirements for Starbucks, primarily for coffee
beans, there will also be significant local input
that will be required to support the brand
locally, and we look forward to working with
local producers to supply some of those prod-
"It is important to note that the majority
of the coffee consumed in Trinidad and Tobago,
whether purchased in the Supermarket or in
coffee shops is imported."
He admitted that his company, as well, has
been having problems accessing foreign cur-
"Yes, in recent times we have experienced
difficulties from time to time in obtaining for-
eign exchange. This has not been a significant
problem for us as our restaurants source most
of their food and packaging locally."
Pashley added that the new Starbuck coffee
shops in T&T will add to the economy by
adding jobs an economic and other economic
He said: "Additionally, the development of
the Starbucks brand will lead to job creation
in the construction industry as we build stores,
and will support the local real estate sector as
we lease locations for our store development.
"Lastly we will provide employment oppor-
tunities for a range of positions throughout
the Starbucks system as well as significant
training to the persons who we employ, much
like we do with our existing brands. In the
case of those brands, we employ approximately
3,500 persons with full-time jobs at all levels
in our organisation," he said.
Starbucks, through PHL, is entering a market
in which Rituals Coffee has a somewhat
entrenched position, having established nearly
60 outlets in T&T. Mario Sabga-Aboud, the
owner of Rituals, has said in previous interviews
that the reason he scaled up the Rituals concept
so quickly in T&T was to stave off the pos-
sibility of a company like Starbucks entering
Despite strong competition in the coffee
shop market, Pashley expects this new global
brand to fare well in the local market.
"We see T&T as a growing coffee and coffee
house market. The growth of coffee brands
as well as coffee varieties and flavours that
are available in the supermarket is a testament
to this, as well as the significant growth in
the number of coffee shops. We believe Star-
bucks would be a valuable and much welcomed
addition to the coffee and beverage sector and
we look forward to introducing the Starbucks
experience to the consumers of T&T," he said.
According to local media reports last week,
Sabga-Aboud said that Rituals coffee shop
chain was born in T&T and will remain the
premier choice in the T&T market despite the
entry of Starbucks brand.
PHL FINANCIAL RESULTS
Prestige Holdings Ltd posted a profit after
tax of $50.3 million for its financial year ended
November 30, 2014.
PHL said in its report that while overall
financial results were positive, the "severe
labour problems endemic in the Trinidad and
Tobago economy" continue to seriously impact
revenue and profitability and this was especially
in the company s KFC and Subway brands.
In its consolidated unaudited results for the
nine months ended August 31, 2015, the chair-
man s report stated that for the first nine
months of fiscal 2015, the group revenue
increased by four per cent to $723 million.
Profit attributable to shareholders increased
by 14 per cent from $36.3 million to $41.2
The results were generated from 112 restau-
Charles Pashley, CEO, Prestige Holdings.
Links Archive February 3rd 2016 February 5th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page