Shanghai — Starbucks’ outgoing executive chairman Howard Schultz says the slowdown in China will be short-lived, seeking to salve investor concerns that the US coffee chain is under pressure in the fast-growing market. Schultz also hinted at a possible tie-up with e-commerce company Alibaba’s billionaire founder, Jack Ma, that could help rev up online coffee sales for the chain in China. Starbucks said in June that China same-store sales would be flat to slightly negative in its second biggest market in April to June, versus 7% growth a year earlier, triggering a sharp drop in the chain’s share price. Schultz, ostensibly on a farewell tour after he stepped down in June, said fears of a slowdown in the market were a "false narrative", and that over time the closely watched metric would regain its momentum. "It’s a very short-term number that Wall Street uses, it’s not a number we’re concerned about," he said at a roundtable at the firm’s flagship Roastery store in Shanghai. "I will s...

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