High street coffee shop chain Starbucks has a reported pre-tax European profit of just $600,000 in 2019, down from $99.5 million in 2018. Its UK subsidiary lost £6.6 million because of difficult trading conditions, the company said.

Part of the reason for the 99-percent fall in profits last year was the cost of developing more drive-through and takeaway services as traditional high street locations became less popular, a trend exacerbated by the coronvirus shutdowns.

Sales in September this year are running at around 60 percent of year-ago levels, but the company is not planning lay-offs, unlike Costa and Pret. Meanwhile staff working hours in the UK have been cut by 30 percent and the company is pinning hopes on negotiating rent reductions from landlords.

PHOTO: Reuters