story. Consistent growth and low employee turnover have been the patterns in this company. Net revenues from their company operated retail as well as from their speciality has been $6.36 billion up from $5.29 billion last year (Starbucks, Annual report, 16th Dec 2005). In 1996, Starbucks went international. The first overseas location was Japan. Currently apart from the United States which is the home market for the company, they also operate in 34 international locations both through direct company operated stores as well as joint ventures and licensed locations.
In the United States, they have 4666 company-operated coffeehouses and 2222 licensed locations. Outside the US they have 1049 company-operated stores and 1734 joint venture and licensed locations. The company was listed in Fortunes best hundred places to work in 2005 (www.starbucks.com, 2006)
India has been in the process since 1991 of opening up its markets to international competition and in general is taking steps towards loosening of control and gunning towards becoming a free market. Being a democracy in which (especially in recent times) coalition governments are the order of the day, the ruling party has to contend with partners which have left leanings. An issue which is the centre of a political debate is Foreign Direct Investment in retail. The left opposes it fearing that local small retailers will be hurt. But pundits agree that it is a matter of time before the government opens up the ceiling for FDI in retail beyond the 49% level and eventually it is expected to open up completely.
Following the process of economic reforms India has seen an extremely healthy GDP growth in recent years. This growth has maintained a rate of 7% to 8% making India one of the fastest growing economies of the world. The middle class in India is itself more than the entire population of the United States making it a huge market. A survey of executives by a global consulting firm AT Kearney shows that India was ranked as the second best destination for Foreign investment after China, making it a better destination for investment than the US (www.atkearney.com, 2006).
Thanks to this upsurge in the macro economic condition of the country there is a substantial upswing in the standard of living especially in the urban centers of the country. The disposable income levels of the middle class has gone up and spending on luxury products and services is at an all time high. Indians are becoming more and more conscious of high quality leisure activities and are more willing to spend on them. This is indicated by the increase of cinema multiplexes which are growing