Starbucks to close 400 locations over next 18 months

Local News
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(WFRV) – Starbucks will close 400 company-operated stores over the next 18 months despite plans to open 300 new stores in fiscal 2020.

The store closures come from an SEC filing that outlines an “accelerated repositioning of a number of company-operated stores as we blend store formats and strategically optimize our portfolio primarily in U.S. urban markets.” Starbucks also intends to open, over time, “a greater number of new, repositioned stores in different locations and with innovative store formats…that is optimized to enhance the customer experience, expand our retail presence, and enable profitable growth for the future.”

In a Wednesday release, Starbucks says these changes are accelerated due to a retail environment that shifted due to coronavirus and “to meet the already evolving customer needs of convenience, connection and personalization offered through a digital experience.”

Over the next 18 months, Starbucks says it will increase convenience-led formats in company-operated locations with drive-thru and curbside pickup options, as well as Starbucks Pickup locations. The company says these experiences are powered by the Starbucks App.

“Starbucks stores have always been known as the ’third place,’ a welcoming place outside of our home and work where we connect over a cup of coffee,” said Kevin Johnson, ceo, Starbucks. “As we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, we are accelerating our store transformation plans to address the realities of the current situation, while still providing a safe, familiar and convenient experience for our customers.”

Transformations for the U.S. store portfolio includes the expansion of new Starbucks Pickup stores in dense markets like Chicago, New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco as well as at convenience-led enhancements such as curbside, drive-thru, and walk up windows in suburban areas.

“With customers’ increased use of the Starbucks App to order ahead, and the national availability of Starbucks® Delivers through Uber Eats, Starbucks will also renovate select store layouts, including the addition of a separate counter for mobile orders at high volume stores, which will make it easier for customers and delivery couriers to pick up their order. Core to the Starbucks Experience is the connection between the customer and partners (employees). Starbucks’ new designs will enable partners to focus on the customer and craft beverages, as well as enhance how partners work together,” Starbucks said in the release.

The company says that about 80 percent of Starbucks U.S. transactions were on-the-go. They add that they plan to continue to expand and enhance the drive-thru for customers including opening new locations outside of densely populated cities and in new markets. Changes to the drive-thru could include double lane drive-thru or drive-thru plus curbside pickup, all of which would rely on the Starbucks App.

For more information on Starbucks’ COVID-19 response and changes customers can expect to see, visit starbucks.com.

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