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Starbucks Korea sets record profit

A Starbucks logo adorns a cafe in Seoul, South Korea. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji.

Starbucks Korea’s annual operating profit soared past 100 billion won (US$94 million) for the first time last year, despite intense competition in the domestic cafe sector.

Industry sources told Yonhap news service the record result was driven by solid demand from young consumers.

The operating profit of the coffee chain, which is run by South Korean retail conglomerate Shinsegae, was estimated at 110 billion won last year, according to the sources. Sales were estimated to have reached 1.2 trillion won (US$1.128 billion).

The company’s annual revenue first topped the 1 trillion-won mark in 2016, setting a milestone in the South Korean coffee industry.

The figures for its competitors, such as A Twosome Place and Angel-in-us Coffee, are known to average between 100 and 200 billion won, according to industry sources.

Starbucks, which opened its first Korean branch near Ewha Womans University in Seoul in 1999, had 1140 stores throughout the country as of last month.

In December, the coffee chain opened its largest store in the country in Seoul.

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