The markets in Europe reacted favorably to Starbucks decision to trim off its underperforming U.S. coffee shops while expanding its operations in Europe (it plans to open 150 new locations in Germany, Britain, and France in the next 3 years).
BTW, Starbucks has doubled in size since 2004 so this would seem an opportune time to prune operations.
Per the Times UK…
US consumers are giving up their luxury coffees as they tighten their belts in the face of rising food and fuel bills. Increasing competition from the likes of McDonald’s, which has started selling premium-priced coffees, has also hurt Starbucks.
Starbucks will close the company-operated stores across the US by the end of March 2009. Most of the coffee shops destined for closure have been open for less than two years and were not profitable nor likely to make an acceptable return in the near future.