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Starbucks to lay off workers at Seattle headquarters

Starbucks to lay off workers at Seattle headquarters

Company to eliminate positions no longer aligned with growth strategy

Starbucks Corp. will lay off or reassign a “relatively small number” of employees at its Seattle headquarters, the company said Thursday.

Company spokeswoman Linda Mills declined to indicate how many employees will be affected. The move was announced last week and will take place over the course of several weeks, she said.

Starbucks is eliminating positions that are no longer aligned with its growth strategy, or are redundant with other roles within the company, Mills said. The coffeehouse operator will try to find other positions within the company for affected workers, where possible.

No Starbucks units will be affected by the move. The company is in an aggressive hiring mode as it expands both in the U.S. and internationally.

“Thousands of net new jobs are being created as we open new stores,” Mills said.

Starbucks, which has about 11,000 units in the U.S. and 21,000 locations worldwide, has projected about 1,650 new unit openings in fiscal 2015, including 650 locations in the Americas region that includes the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

First reported by the tech website GeekWire, the news of the cuts follows last week’s announcement by Starbucks chief operating officer Troy Alstead that he will take an extended unpaid leave beginning in March.

In a subsequent letter to employees, Alstead reportedly described the departure as a sabbatical to spend more time with family. More detail on the management transition is expected when Starbucks reports first-quarter earnings on Jan. 22.

Starbucks ended fiscal 2014 with 5-percent same-store sales growth across each region during the fourth quarter, although traffic grew more slowly. The company has projected a same-store sales increase in the mid-single-digits for fiscal 2015.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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