Starbucks identifies stores slated for closure
Coffee chain to shutter more than 600 stores in response to slowing sales, sluggish economy.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Starbucks Corp. released a list Thursday of the 616 company-owned stores it will shutter by the first half of 2009.
The closures accompany planned layoffs of 12,000 workers. Starbucks currently operates 7,087 stores in the U.S.
The Seattle-based coffee company has said the cutbacks reflect a difficult economic environment in which rising gas prices and unemployment, as well as falling home values, have consumers cutting back on nonessential purchases like premium coffee.
Inflation is also driving up Starbucks' costs, as rising prices for dairy products and more expensive storefront space have weighed on earnings.
Starbucks has said the stores it is closing were unprofitable, and many were located near another Starbucks store. Most of them were opened in the last two years.