Starbucks boss Howard Schultz delivers rallying call to chain’s partners

SEATTLE, WA - MARCH 18:  Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks during Starbucks annual shareholders meeting March 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. Schultz announced a 2-for-1 stock split, the sixth in the company's history, during the meeting. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Starbucks chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz, has issued a rallying call to its stores as the company wraps up its 2015 fiscal year and looks ahead to 2016.

Starbucks will enter its 45th year in business in 2016, with the coffee shop chain continuing to move closer to its “aspirational goal of redefining the role and responsibility of a for-profit public company”, according to Schultz.

“Behind the scenes, in our stores and in the headlines, we once again created long-term value for our shareholders, exceeded the expectations of our customers, and made you, our partners, proud,” he wrote.

Schultz added that with 23,000 stores in 68 countries, the Starbucks brand and in-store experience had “never been stronger or more relevant”.

“Our global growth and development coupled with the innovation of mobile and digital customer-facing proprietary technology linked to loyalty, personalisation, and MSR are also in their infant stages,” he added. “New store formats and designs, and Starbucks Reserve stores, are evolving to have lives of their own.”

The chain is due to unveil its next generation of Teavana stores soon, while The Roastery will open in cities around the world following its debut in Seattle.

“This past year, we took major steps forward, raising wages, creating the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, investing in new technology tools, enhancing benefits and making several policies more relevant for the overall partner experience,” said Schultz, who stressed that despite the progress, there was more for the company to do.

“We will continue to learn, listen and innovate on your behalf, moving quickly to keep building a company that creates unique opportunities for its people,” he promised.

Starbucks has been operating in the UK since 1998 when it entered the European market through its acquisition of 65 Seattle Coffee Company stores.

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