The stores are scattered throughout the US major markets, acompany spokeswoman tells GlobeSt.com. One telling factor is thatabout 70% of the stores to be closed have only been open sincefiscal 2006. The company also now expects to open less than 200 newUS company owned-stores next year, down from the 1,077 stores itopened last year.

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Howard Schultz, president, chairman and CEO, said in a statementthat the company started its cost-cutting moves in January. He saidthat the decision is difficult because of the jobs that will becut, though the company said it would place many employees atnearby stores. "We recognize that it is necessary to make decisionsthat will strengthen the US store portfolio and enable us to enterin fiscal 2009 focused on enhancing operating efficiency, improvingcustomer satisfaction and ensuring long-term value for ourpartners, customers and shareholders," Schultz said.

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The company, which has 11,434 stores in the US, said theannouncement doesn't include plans to close any of its 4,792 storesinternationally. Last month, the company said it will open 150units in Europe over the next three years, in a licensingpartnership with SSP

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