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AlShaya, Starbucks Middle East operator, to cut 2,000 jobs due to boycott

Wed 06 Mar 2024    
| 2 min read

Dubai: AlShaya Group, the franchisee that owns the rights to Starbucks in the Middle East, has announced plans to lay off over 2,000 employees due to difficult trading conditions resulting from consumer boycotts related to the recent conflict in Gaza, as per agency report.

The job cuts, which began on Sunday, represent around 4 percent of AlShaya’s total workforce of almost 50,000 people.

A source familiar with the matter said most of the reductions are in its Starbucks operations across the Middle East and North Africa, the report said.

In a statement, AlShaya confirmed “the sad and very difficult decision to reduce the number of colleagues in our Starbucks MENA stores” due to “the continually challenging trading conditions over the last six months.”

The company said it will support departing staff and remains committed to the region. Its 2,000-plus Starbucks locations across 13 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia have reportedly faced tough market conditions following boycott campaigns linked to the on-going Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza which began last year.

A Starbucks spokesperson told agencies: “Our thoughts are with the green apron partners who will be leaving, and we want to thank them for their contributions. Starbucks remains committed to working closely with AlShaya to drive long-term growth in this important region.”

Neither AlShaya nor the sources disclosed how many people the group employs in its Starbucks business.

Established in 1890 in Kuwait, AlShaya is one of the biggest retail franchisees in the region with rights to operate businesses of popular Western brands including The Cheesecake Factory and Shake Shack.

It has owned rights to operate Starbucks coffee shops in the Middle East since 1999. The Starbucks unit runs around 2,000 outlets in 13 countries, across the Middle East and North Africa, and central Asia.

Also read: UAE delivers aid to Gaza: Food and medical parcels sent in thousands

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