Saturday, 14 November 2009

After all that: Starbucks to go?

Starbucks on St James's Street has certainly been responsible for some controversy.

After being refused planning permission to open in the conservation area, doing so anyway, and eventually winning a protracted legal battle to stay - despite opposition from Brighton and Hove Council, ward councillors, and regular demonstrations by residents' concerned at the multi-national's tendancy to threaten the viability of local, independent cafes - it is reported that the firm has now adopted a 'de-branding' strategy that could see it vanish from the street just months after opening.

In the face of collapsing sales around the world, the firm has decided that what most people really want these days is, you guessed it, coffee  from a local, independent cafe.

So the firm has, in a desperate bid to stay competitive, closed one of its biggest stores in its birthplace, Seattle, and replaced it with a '15th Avenue Coffee and Tea' shop instead - with no mention at all of Starbucks, and the style and design  copied directly from nearby successful independent cafes.

Don't be surprised then if, after all that fuss (and public money), Starbucks in St James's Street closes its doors soon, to be replaced by a faux independent coffee store that's part The Tea Cosy, part Red Roaster and part Metro-Deco.

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