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Starbucks’ shutdown of La Boulange stores underway

Two months after Starbucks said it would shutter all 23 of its La Boulange standalone locations by September, closures begin Friday, the San Francisco Business Times reports, amid rumors that some locations will reopen under La Boulange founder Pascal Rigo. 

This year, La Boulange-supplied baked goods helped the coffee giant grow its second-quarter breakfast sales by 35 percent year-over-year and overall food sales by 16 percent, Starbucks said. Starbucks acquired the bakery-cafe chain in 2012, using the brand and its recipes to expand its food program.

“Nothing went wrong,” Rigo told the Business Times. “I completely understand the business of Starbucks to say we have 12,000 Starbucks (with La Boulange products), why do we need 23 (bakeries) in San Francisco? It’s a distraction.”

Rigo was originally brought on as a senior vice president to help develop recipes but has since left the coffee company. He noted that the closures were “triggering something” and implied that he planned to either open some La Boulange locations as a different concept or to open new spots altogether, the Business Times reports.

A Starbucks spokesperson confirmed that the company was in discussion about transferring leases for closing La Boulange locations, according to Hoodline, but would not share further details. 

Rigo told Hoodline that “it’s too early to say” what will happen exactly, but hinted that he could give more details in two weeks.
 

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