MOROCCO – Kuwaiti franchise operator Alshaya Group has denied claims of circulating reports suggesting the departure of American multinational coffeehouse chain Starbucks from the Moroccan market.  

Starbucks Corporation is an American multinational chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves, and the world’s largest coffeehouse chain. Alshaya group owns the franchise rights of the coffeehouse in Morocco. 

A spokesperson from Alshaya group affirmed its commitment to the Moroccan market, ensuring the continued operation of both Starbucks and H&M stores in the country. 

The spokesperson clarified that the group is consistently evaluating its portfolio to ensure the optimal placement of stores for its clients.  

Contrary to speculations linking the possible exit to a commercial boycott initiated by Moroccans in solidarity with Palestinians during Israel’s conflict in the Gaza Strip, Alshaya Group cited a lack of business attractiveness in the Moroccan markets as the driving factor for any potential changes. 

Reports had previously suggested that the boycott, which also targeted major fast-food chains like McDonald’s and KFC, influenced the decision of Starbucks to withdraw from Morocco.  

The coffeehouse faced boycott calls after disagreeing with a post on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) by the chain’s union expressing solidarity with Palestine. 

The boycott, which was unprecedented in scale, has extended beyond the Arab world, with reports of diminished customer traffic in Malaysia and other regions. 

This is not the first time the company has had to deal with product boycotts. In 2018, following an incident in a Philadelphia outlet where a member of staff got two young black men arrested for refusing to leave because they were waiting to meet someone and wouldn’t order anything. 

Many people thought it smacked of racism and called for boycotts, prompting Starbucks to publicly apologize and promise to train employees about unconscious race bias. 

Despite challenges in the market, Starbucks reported a successful fourth quarter and fiscal year in November, meeting the higher end of the company’s full-year guidance. 

The CEO, Laxman Narasimhan, attributed the positive performance to the ongoing Reinvention initiative, aimed at enhancing partner and customer experiences.

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