Guess We Saw This Coming

1 Jul

$4 per gallon of gas? Well, OK. $4 for a cup of Joe? Uh, no thanks!

SEATTLE – Starbucks Corp. said Tuesday it will close 600 stores in the United States in the next year and cut back the number of new stores it had planned to open.

Starbucks said 70 percent of the stores slated to be closed had opened since the start of the 2006 fiscal year. The total includes 100 previously announced store closures.

The company expects charges between $328 million and $348 million related to the closures, including a charge of $200 million in the third quarter.

Once those underperforming stores have shut down _ a process the company said will happen gradually from now until the first half of 2009 _ Starbucks said it expects the change to boost earnings by $100 million a year.

Starbucks said it will try to place workers from closed stores in remaining Starbucks.

Shares of Seattle-based Starbucks slipped 11 cents to $15.51 in after-hours trading after losing 12 cents to close at $15.62.

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