Starbucks to close 150 USA cafes to combat slowing growth

The Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai China

Starbucks announced Tuesday that it is closing 150 of its US stores in the next year, three times as many as the chain normally closes in that time period.

The world's largest coffee chain has faced increasing competition from upscale coffee houses and fast-food chains like McDonald's Corp and Dunkin Donuts in recent years, missing analysts' estimates for same-store sales in the USA -dominated Americas region in five of the last six quarters.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson says the global coffee chain will be "leaning into" creating more plant-based beverages as consumers continue to demand vegan options.

The announcement was made on the heels of revealing that Starbucks was expecting same-store sales to grow just 1 percent for the quarter of the fiscal calendar beginning next month - after initially projecting a 2.9 percent growth.

The firm organized the session following the public outcry over two black men getting arrested for sitting at one of the tables without ordering a drink.

Starbucks says it will accelerate its store closings in the USA next year to counter cooling sales growth.

Here, Johnson says the company still has work to do to improve in-store efficiently and make the most out of its loyalty programs.

"That is, in my view, not an acceptable performance and we need to do better", said Johnson, who has been in the top job at the Seattle-based coffee giant for a little more than year. The locations of the stores to be closed have not been released. Outgoing company chairman Howard Schultz said the closing may have cost the company tens of millions of dollars, although Johnson said that is not an excuse for the sales performance.

Closing stores is not new for businesses, but the 150 figure is almost three-times the average for the company.

Starbucks shares slipped almost 2 percent in after-hours trading. "That becomes an area of concern for Starbucks".

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