Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Well, when I today went into Borders in Charing Cross Road in London in order to sit in the cafe and browse books and magazines without actually paying for them, I discovered that the cafe was closed and being refitted as a Starbucks. Apparently all the cafes in the UK Borders outlets are being turned into Starbucks outlets. It seems to be a multinational thing, too, as all the cafes in Borders in Australia were in the process of turning into Starbucks when I left Australia in January. (The one Borders in Singapore, was still just a cafe at that time, but it may have changed too).

When I was last in the US in summer 2000, it was Barnes and Noble and not Borders who had a deal with Starbucks. Have Borders in the US done a deal with Starbucks as part of some momentous shifting of alliances between multinational retailers, or is this just something for the international stores? Perhaps someone in the US can tell me.

(Technically the Starbucks stores in B&N in the US were cafes "proudly serving Starbucks coffee" rather than actual Starbucks outlets, which presumably means that the employees were employed by the B&N store rather than employees of Starbucks. These ones in the UK and Australia seem to be actual Starbucks outlets. (I have however seen the "proudly serving Starbucks coffee" trick in the UK, in cafes in cinemas rather than bookshops).

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