The 600 closing stores represent just about 3% of Starbucks'units in the United States, hardly a sign of abject failure, allnote. And that means that re-leasing the units shouldn't be toodifficult.

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"It's much ado about nothing," said Jim Sakanich, a senior vicepresident of CB Richard Ellis, Bannockburn, IL. "The one thing Iwould say is that they always pick really good real estate, andgood real estate won't be hard to get rid of."

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A number of uses could take the locations, which can vary from1,000 square feet to 1,500 square feet. The most obvious would be afood use.

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"Typically, Starbucks has leased some prime locations. Thebackfill would be other coffeehouses" such as Peet's said RichardWolf, a senior vice president of Madison Marquette Retail Services,Los Angeles.

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In New York City, another possibility is Pret-A-Manger, theLondon-based sandwich shop that first entered the city a decae ago,said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of locally based. PrudentialDouglas Elliman Retail Services. The firm is working on re-leasinga couple of Starbucks locations in the city.

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"They've announced 36 locations in New York City, four timeswhat they have now," Consolo said. "They think they could be onevery corner. And they're a great fit for another reason – they fitright into the space."

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Other possible food uses include Dunkin Donuts or Subway, thoughsome landlords might look for more upscale tenants such as frozendessert shops Red Mango, Pinkberry or even local favorite Tasti DLite. Other possibilities are bakeries and wine shops.

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Some say McDonalds might even be a possibility, though Sakanichdiscounts that idea.

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"That customer is more budget-conscious," he said.

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Other possibilities include financial services or nonfoodretailers. Regardless of what retailer ultimate gets the please,most landlords will have been more than happy to take back thespace.

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"The landlords were tortured by those leases," Consolo said. "Ifthey can turn it around and make a deal, they'll do it."

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"To shake out a few hundred stores nationally andinternationally is healthy and appropriate," Wolf said. "Thebackfill is a tremendous opportunity – the basic work such aselectricity already been done."

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And, all say, don't worry too much about Starbucks.

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"This means that 97% of the time you're getting it right,"Sakanich said. "That puts you in the Hall of Fame."

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