WILL THERE BE MORE STARBUCKS CLOSINGS?

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The recent rash of Starbucks shutdowns has proven thatwhen the economic going gets tough, few people are willing to pay$5 for a cup of coffee. And if this week's poll respondents arecorrect, the company hasn't hit bottom yet. An overwhelming 84%predict there will be more Starbucks closings in the coming monthsthan the 600 already, and only 16% are optimistic that the squeezeis over. Robert Molloy, a vice president with CB Richard Ellis,says that Starbucks isn't the only retailer having trouble. Here iswhat he has to say:

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"All businesses are challenged in today's economy, and retailersare no exception. They're looking to be more efficient. Thatinvolves closing their underperforming stores, repositioningthemselves in their respective markets, and concentrating theirefforts on strategic expansion plans in markets where they aregoing to thrive. It's smart business.

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"It's not just Starbucks doing this. Other retailers andbusinesses in general are trying to be smart and efficient, survivein the current economy, and plan for the future.

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"With the troubled housing market, increasing fuel costs, etc.,generally the retailers who are thriving right now are those whooffer necessity and discount goods. However other types of "highend" retailers in strong demographic markets where people tend tohave more disposable income should continue to do business.

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"It's too soon to tell how much of a downturn we're going to seebefore the economy stabilizes and what the overall effects will beon the retail market. I do think retailers will continue to expandin selective markets, tenants will continue to consummate newleases, and the strong, efficient, and well capitalized willsurvive."

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