Starbucks opening stores amidst closings

By Roland Li | September 15, 2008 06:51PM

Starbucks is selectively opening new locations, despite announcing two months ago its intent to close 600 company-operated stores in the United States, including 11 in New York City.

Starbucks has leases for at least three new coffee stores in Manhattan at 239 Seventh Avenue in Chelsea, 110 Church Street in Tribeca and 130 Fulton Street in the Financial District.

Manhattan’s a good market for Starbucks,” said David Firestein of Northwest Atlantic Realty, who brokered the two deals.

The Seventh Avenue store, near 24th Street, has been open for a month.  It fills a void on the avenue, Firestein said, because there had been no Starbucks store on Seventh Avenue south of 28th Street. Meanwhile, in June, Starbucks opened one of its largest locations in the city, a two-story Starbucks on the West 34th Street side of the Empire State building.

The Tribeca Starbucks will share space with Washington Mutual and AT&T inside residential rental building 50 Murray Street. Neighboring retailers include Whole Foods Market, Barnes & Noble, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Richard Lebow of the World-Wide Group, the landlord of 110 Church Street, said Starbucks is under construction at the location, and he hopes it will open by
Halloween.

The country-wide closing plan
is a marked departure from the company’s previously aggressive expansion plans.

“We are closing stores that were underperforming and opening stores that will add to sales company-wide. Good locations are still doing incredible numbers,” said Long Island Starbucks broker Russel Helbling of Breslin Realty.

Starbucks now plans to open fewer than 200 locations nationwide in the 2009 fiscal year, down from a January 2008 projection of 1,000 openings.

“It’s a lot less than what they’ve been doing, but it’s more than a lot of retailers,” Northwest Atlantic’s Firestein said.