Image: Starbucks
Elaine Thompson  /  AP
Starbucks barista Alex Igarta hands a drink to a customer at a store near the company's corporate headquarters in Seattle. Starbucks announced that its quarterly profits dropped 69 percent. staff and news service reports
updated 1/28/2009 7:58:15 PM ET 2009-01-29T00:58:15

Starbucks Corp. said Wednesday that it would cut as many as 6,700 jobs as it closes hundreds more stores and eliminates more positions at its corporate headquarters.

Faced with slowing demand for lattes and cappuccinos because of the recession, Starbucks plans to close 300 stores, including 200 in the United States, and eliminate about 6,000 store jobs. The company also plans to eliminate about 700 corporate jobs, including about 350 at its corporate headquarters in Seattle.

It also has reduced the number of new stores it plans to open.

The cuts and changes will result in about $500 million in savings in fiscal 2009, the company said.

Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo said the cuts make sense given the decline in Starbucks’ sales in recent quarters.

“This is going to be a transition year,” Russo said. He said the company will have to “claw their way back.”

Wall Street had largely expected Starbucks to report dismal performance for the quarter, which ended Dec. 28, because it had warned last month that slow sales likely would cause it to miss analysts’ estimates.

Heeding the company’s warning, analysts lowered their average expectation from 22 cents per share to 17 cents per share.

But the company still fell short, with net income of $64.3 million, or 9 cents per share, down from $208.1 million, or 28 cents per share a year earlier.

Excluding charges from closing the 600 U.S. stores and 61 stores in Australia, the company said it earned 15 cents per share in its first quarter.

Revenue fell to $2.62 billion from $2.77 billion, while analysts had predicted revenue of $2.70 billion.

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The revenue drop stemmed from a 9 percent decline in same-store sales, or sales at locations open at least a year, considered a key gauge of restaurant and retail performance. That dip was worse than the company’s fourth-quarter decline of 8 percent.

The company’s U.S. same-store sales dropped 10 percent in the first quarter.

Starbucks also said its Chief Executive Howard Schultz will be paid just $10,000 in base salary for fiscal 2009, including health insurance and other benefits. His salary was $1.2 million in 2008.

Schultz still could take home more compensation in the form of stock options. In the last fiscal year, he received stock options worth $7.8 million when granted, which helped boost his total compensation near $10 million.

The company said it plans to open only 140 new stores in the U.S. in fiscal 2009, down from its previous target of 200. Overseas, it will open 170, down from the 270 it had planned to open.

The company also said it will not provide any sales or earnings guidance “given the uncertainty in the global consumer retail environment.”

Shares fell 49 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $9.16 in electronic after hours trading after rising 5.5 percent during regular trading Wednesday.

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