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Starbucks closing up to 400 locations, opening 300 more, increasing curbside pickup

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SEATTLE – Today, Starbucks announced plans to accelerate the transformation of its store portfolio in the U.S. through the integration of the physical and digital customer experience. These changes are accelerated due to a retail environment that has shifted because of COVID-19 and to meet the already evolving customer needs of convenience, connection and personalization offered through a digital experience.

Over the next 18 months, Starbucks will increase convenience-led formats in company-operated locations with drive-thru and curbside pickup options, as well as Starbucks® Pickup locations, according to a release from the company.

“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.”

The new strategy aligns closely with rapidly evolving customer preferences that have accelerated as a result of COVID-19, including higher levels of mobile ordering, more contactless pick-up experiences and reduced in-store congestion, all of which naturally allow for greater physical distancing.

In a letter to Starbucks employees, the company stated how they plan to close some locations, while opening others as part of this change.

“Although new store development activity was temporarily paused in the Americas due to the onset of COVID-19, new store openings have now resumed. Building on the approximately 200 net new stores that were opened in the Americas through our second fiscal quarter, we now expect to open approximately 300 net new stores in fiscal 2020, down from our original expectation of 600. This repositioning will include the closure of up to 400 company-operated stores over the next 18 months in conjunction with the opening, over time, of a greater number of new, repositioned stores in different locations and with innovative store formats.”

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