On the Today programme this morning there was the news that Starbucks is opening three hundred new branches in the United Kingdom creating five thousand jobs.
When you consider that high-price cups of frothy flavoured coffee are an entirely discretionary purchase does this indicate an increase in consumer optimism? Presumably Starbucks did some market research before commencing this programme of expansion. Starbucks sales are not just about coffee - they also relate to consumer confidence, consumer leisure time, the ever-changing rituals with which modern urban individuals regulate their lives etc.
And wasn't it Howard Schultz, Chief Executive of Starbucks, who helpfully told the world back in February 2009 that the United Kingdom was "finished" and no-one should invest here - has he now changed his mind?