Consumer Group Contests Starbucks Price Hike

The Korea National Council of Consumer Organizations on Monday protested against Starbucks' decision to raise the prices of its beverages.

Starbucks, the largest coffee-based drink franchise in Korea, raised the prices of 23 drinks by 2.1 percent last week for the first time in more than two years, citing the rising costs of raw materials and salaries.

But according to the group, a kilogram of coffee beans cost W4,179 (US$1=W1,027) on average in the first half of this year, which was actually 10.4 percent cheaper than in 2012, when Starbucks last hiked prices. The cost-of-goods-sold ratio also fell from 45.6 percent in 2012 to 44.5 percent.

Starbucks has seen its revenues here rise by W91.2 billion over the last year alone.

A spokesman for the consumer group said, "The last time Starbucks raised prices, other coffee chains followed suit, and we are afraid the same thing will happen this time."

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 22, 2014 12:32 KST