Starbucks plans to close seven coffee shops in the San Francisco area by the end of this month as part of a wider restructuring effort. The company stated that this decision is not linked to any specific reason, but is a routine evaluation of their store portfolio to better meet the needs of their community and customers. The statement added that Starbucks continually opens new locations, renovates existing ones, explores alternative formats, and sometimes re-evaluates their footprint.
All seven locations are slated to close by October 22.
These closures come at a turbulent time for Starbucks as the company is undergoing a transition with the departure of former CEO and co-founder Howard Schultz from the board.
While specific reasons for the San Francisco closures were not provided, safety concerns related to retail crime could potentially be a motivating factor. Starbucks has previously closed stores in major cities due to safety concerns for their staff and customers.
Difficulties in union organizing efforts may also be a contributing factor. Starbucks is currently engaged in ongoing contract negotiations with Starbucks Workers United, a union representing thousands of Starbucks employees across the country. The company has faced criticism from federal regulators for firing workers and closing locations, which organizers claim is an attempt to impede the unionizing effort.