Starbucks’ Hubei province reopening shows how US might recover

Starbucks’ decision to reopen a store in Hubei province is evidence that the coronavirus outbreak has indeed slowed in China, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Thursday. 

“Starbucks is not the PRC and is truthful, not propaganda,” Cramer said on “Squawk Box.” The reference to the PRC stands for the communist People’s Republic of China.

While questions have been raised about the truthfulness of the Chinese government, Cramer said that he trusts Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson.

“If the Chinese were lying, Kevin would not open that store,” Cramer said.

Johnson appeared on Cramer’s “Mad Money” Wednesday night and discussed the coffee giant’s recent steps in China. 

By the end of March, Starbucks will have reopened more 90% of the stores it temporarily shuttered in response to COVID-19’s spread, Johnson said. Starbucks expects a revenue hit of $400 million to $430 million in the fiscal second quarter as a result of the Chinese closures. 

“China is on the uptick,” Johnson said Wednesday. 

Starbucks has temporarily removed seating at its U.S. and Canadian stores, moving to a to-go model only, to maintain social distancing and help limit the transmission of the coronavirus.

Cramer said Thursday that he’s not trying to project “false optimism” about China’s recovery, but said it offered a look at how the U.S. may bounce back a “little bit further out.”

China on Thursday reported no new cases COVID-19 that were locally transmitted; all 34 new cases involved travelers from abroad. 

There are more than 222,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus globally, the majority of which are now located outside of China, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The virus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in Hubei province, in December.

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