Starbucks CEO on store closings: ‘There are going to be many more’

Starbucks could continue to close stores due to safety concerns.

Last week, interim CEO Howard Schultz stated in a video posted to Twitter, “We are beginning to close stores due to safety concerns.” “This is just the start. There will be numerous more.”

Starbucks announced last week that it will close 16 locations due to safety concerns. In an open letter around that time, Starbucks’ senior vice presidents of US operations Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson detailed the company’s efforts to make stores safer.

Workers “see firsthand the challenges facing our communities — personal safety, racism, lack of access to healthcare, a growing mental health crisis, and rising drug use, among others,” they wrote, adding that “with stores in thousands of communities across the nation, we know that these challenges can sometimes manifest in our stores as well.”

According to Schultz’s video, which was first reported by Insider, the effort to make workers feel safer could lead to more closures. The letter stated that the company provides active shooter training and other types of training, as well as mental health benefits, access to abortion care, clarity regarding shifts and store policies, and more.

Starbucks will permanently close stores where it is unable to create a safe environment, the letter continued. In such cases, the company will relocate employees to nearby stores.

Schultz stated in the video, which was captured during a meeting last week to discuss these efforts, that one of the primary concerns of our retail partners is their own personal safety.

Starbucks (SBUX) employees in Ithaca, New York, claimed in June that their location was closed as retaliation for their union activism. The worker committee announced at the time that it would file a charge of unfair labor practices with the NLRB, alleging that Starbucks was “clearly attempting to intimidate workers across the country.”

Regarding this store’s closure, a company spokesperson stated at the time that Starbucks opens and closes stores as part of its regular business operations, but did not provide any additional information.

In June, a Starbucks spokesperson stated, “Our local, regional, and national leaders have been working with humility, deep care, and urgency to create the kind of store environment that partners and customers expect from Starbucks.” “Our objective is to ensure that every partner’s unique situation is supported and that we have immediate opportunities on the market.”

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