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Starbucks to close 600 'underperforming' stores

U.S. company Starbucks has announced its intention to close about 600 "underperforming" stores in the US. Some twelve thousand employees will lose their jobs as a result of the reorganization plan to increase profitability.

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American coffeeshop giant Starbucks said Thursday it would close some 600 "underperforming company-operated stores in the US market as part of a reorganization to pump up profitability.

"This decision is a result of a rigorous evaluation of the US company-operated store portfolio and includes the 100 stores targeted for closure in the company's previously announced plans," the Seattle, Washington, company said in a statement.

Starbucks also said it expects to open fewer than 200 new US company-operated stores in fiscal 2009.

In employment, Starbucks said full-time and part-time retail positions "will be eliminated," but many employees will be able to take available positions at nearby Starbucks stores.

"In January, we committed to transforming the company through a series of critical and strategic initiatives to improve the current state of our US business and build the business for the long term," stated Howard Schultz, chairman, president and chief executive.

"Our executive and field leadership teams conducted an extensive review of our US company-operated store portfolio with a goal of enabling our organization to focus its efforts on locations where we can more effectively improve the customer experience."

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