Starbucks announced late Tuesday afternoon that they are closing 600 of their stores in the United States, as previously mentioned in our newsbrief. All stores closed will be from the company-operated market (meaning that privately operated locations such as those inside bookstores, universities and highway rest stops are uneffected). The closings will start now and will stretch throughout 2008 and into the first half of the 2009 fiscal year as well.
As many as 12,000 employees are expected to lose their jobs.
Here’s CEO Howard Schultz’s spin on it:
“Throughout the history of the company, we have always aspired to put our people first. This makes our decision to close stores difficult, because it is disrupting the lives of the people who have worked so hard to deliver superior service to our customers. We sincerely thank each one of them and are very proud of their many contributions to the company. At the same time, we recognize that it is necessary to make decisions that will strengthen the U.S. store portfolio and enable us to enter into fiscal 2009 focused on enhancing operating efficiency, improving customer satisfaction and ensuring long-term value for our partners, customers and shareholders.”
In real world speak, well… Schultz is explaining that rising gas prices and the resulting economic fallout is kicking the company’s butt. Over at Jim Romenesko’s excellent Starbucks Gossip site, company employees are weighing in. It turns out that employees who lose their jobs will be given a lump sum severance fee and that there’s a secret internal store closing manual that was given out to managers over the past year.
But we’re more interested in what this means to Philadelphia. Although Starbucks has not released a list of the coffee shops they are closing yet, it’s inevitable that some Delaware Valley locations will be on it.
So which Starbucks do you think are headed into the dumpster? Send us an e-mail and weigh in with your two cents. Hell, we’ll be here.