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updated: 9/28/2012 7:35 AM

Starbucks to open first India store in October

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  • R.K. Krishankumar, vice chairman of Tata Global Beverages, left, along with John Culver, president of Starbuck China and Asia Pacific, meet the media in Mumbai, India.

      R.K. Krishankumar, vice chairman of Tata Global Beverages, left, along with John Culver, president of Starbuck China and Asia Pacific, meet the media in Mumbai, India.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

MUMBAI, India -- Starbucks will open its first outlet in India by the end of October in an upscale neighborhood of Mumbai and has appointed a chief executive to head its India joint venture, the company said Friday.

The store will be in Mumbai's Horniman Circle neighborhood, which boasts an Hermes store and a stately neighborhood park. It will feature coffee sourced locally, through an arrangement with Tata Coffee Ltd.

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Starbucks is operating in India through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, called Tata Starbucks Ltd.

Avani Saglani Davda, who has worked for the Tata Group for over a decade, will be chief executive. Most recently, she served in the vice chairman's office of Tata Global Beverages, where she was responsible for marketing and business development and helped forge the Starbucks partnership.

The joint venture said in January that it aimed to open 50 Starbucks outlets in India by year's end.

While that ambitious goal won't be achieved, the store opening is a tangible vote of confidence in India's beleaguered economy. New Delhi has been fighting to open its retailing market to foreign players, over loud populist protests, in a bid to boost growth and boost its reputation among skeptical foreign investors. Wal-Mart and IKEA have also said they intend to open retail outlets in India soon.

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