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Starbucks to shut all La Boulange stores

Starbucks said Tuesday that it will shut all 23 of its La Boulange bakery-cafes and a manufacturing plant that supports them, calling the stores no longer sustainable to the company’s long-term growth.

The La Boulange brand and its recipes will continue to be used in Starbucks’ expanding food progam. Starbucks said La Boulange-supplied items contributed to a 16-percent year-over-year rise in food sales during the second quarter and raised breakfast sales in particular by 35 percent over the volume for the same period of 2014.

The La Boulange stores and plant will be shuttered by September 2015, Starbucks said in an announcement on its website. Employees of the stores will be placed wherever possible in Starbucks units, the company noted.

La Boulange founder Pascal Rigo will leave the company.

Starbucks bought La Boulange for about $100 million in mid-2012.  The La Boulange that opened last year in Los Angeles drew strong attention because its menu included gourmet burgers. Speculation surged that the brand would be a backdoor route for Starbucks to get into the gourmet burger market.

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