Starbucks to Close 7,100 US Stores Today

Relax: It's just for 3 hours, and Dunkin' Donuts has 99¢ coffee
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2008 12:20 PM CST
J.J. Geise reads a paper as he treats himself to coffee and a baked good at a Starbucks coffee shop in Seattle in this Jan. 25, 2008 file photo. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Get your afternoon latte early today, because Starbucks—all 7,100 US locations—is closing at 5:30pm for 3 hours of staff training, CNNMoney reports. The company says it hopes baristas will  “deepen their passion for coffee” and even “transform the customer experience,” not to speak of  turning around a wicked stock slide. Smelling weakness, Dunkin' Donuts is pouncing, offering all its coffee beverages for 99 cents this afternoon.

A company spokesperson shot down a rumor that the closing signaled a return to manual espresso machines. “I’m not sure why it’s going to take them three hours to learn how to press a button,” said the owner of one independent coffee house in LA, which is offering free drinks during the blackout. Starbucks’ stock fell 42% last year, prompting 600 layoffs.