Thursday, July 24, 2008

Three Queens Locations Among Closing Starbucks

Two Glendale Stores, Including Atlas Park Location, Will Close

by Conor Greene

Among the 600 stores ordered closed nationwide by Starbucks are 11 in New York City, three of which are in Queens,including the Atlas Park mall location.

The Seattle-based coffee giant announced the stores closures earlier this month as part of “its multi-faceted plan to transform the company.” It described the locations as “underperforming” and expects them to be closed at various times through out the rest of this year and the first half of 2009.

Aside from six stores in Midtown Manhattan, three Queens locations – two in Glendale, at 8000 Cooper Avenue (Atlas Park) and 8989 Union Turnpike (Stop and Shop plaza) and one in Douglaston – are among the stores closing. In addition, the company is shutting one store in both Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The closing of the Atlas Park location comes as a hit to the high-end shopping center at Cooper Avenue and 80th Street. Damon Hemmerdinger, who owns the mall, declined through its public relations firm to comment Starbuck’s decision. However, the store’s business was likely hurt by the fact that the shopping center charges for parking, cutting down on the amount of pedestrian traffic at the store.

However, customers used to frequenting the Atlas Park or Union Turnpike locations won’t have to go far for a replacement coffee store. There still is a Seattle’s Best cafĂ© - which is also owned by Starbucks - inside Borders Books and Music in Atlas Park, and there is a second Starbucks location inside the Stop and Shop on Union Turnpike.

According to Starbucks, seventy percent of the stores scheduled to close were opened in 2006 or later. That means that nearly twenty percent of all stores opened in the past two years are closing. About 12,000 workers will be affected by the closings, slated to start this month and continue over the next year. Most will be moved to other locations, the company said.

Howard Schultz, company chairman and CEO, said that the company is committed to undergo a “series of critical and strategic initiatives to improve the current state of our U.S. business and build the business for the long term. When the restructuring was first announced in January, about 100 stores were expected to be closed.

“We recognize that it is necessary to make decisions that will strengthen the U.S. store portfolio and enable us to enter into fiscal 2009 focused on enhancing operating efficiency, improving customer satisfaction and ensuring long-term value for partners, customers shareholders,” Schultz said in a statement.

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