Starbucks said its licensed partner has agreed to immediately pause operations at all 130 of its stores in Russia.
The Seattle-based coffee chain’s licensee will provide support to the almost 2,000 partners in Russia who depend on the company for their livelihood, Starbucks said Tuesday in a statement posted on its website. The company had said last week that it would donate royalties from sales in Russia to relief efforts in Ukraine.
A Starbucks spokesperson said the licensee is Kuwait-based franchise operator Alshaya Co. The spokesperson declined to comment on whether Starbuck’s had asked Alshaya to close the stores or whether Starbucks will compensate Alshaya for any revenue or for the support the partner is providing the nearly 2,000 employees.
Tuesday’s decision appears to mark a shift from last week. In a letter Friday to Starbucks employees, CEO Kevin Johnson made no mention of closing the locations, and instead told employees that Starbucks “will donate any royalties we receive from our business operations in Russia to humanitarian relief efforts for Ukraine.”
Seattle Times staff contributed to this report.