Star­bucks to close La Boulange cafes

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Sa­man­tha Ma­sunaga sa­man­­ Twit­ter: @sma­sunaga.

Three years af­ter it ac­quired the highly touted Bay Area bak­ery chain, Star­bucks Corp. said it would close all 23 La Boulange cafes by the end of Septem­ber.

The Seat­tle-based cof­fee gi­ant said in a state­ment Tues­day that the stores are “not sus­tain­able for the com­pany’s long-term growth.” La Boulange food will still be served at Star­bucks stores in San Fran­cisco, across the U.S. and in Canada.

The two man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties that served the La Boulange bak­ery cafes, as well as the Evo­lu­tion Fresh juice cafe in San Fran­cisco, will also be closed.

Star­bucks ac­quired the ar­ti­san bak­ery com­pany in 2012 for $100 mil­lion. At the time, Star­bucks said it was re­spond­ing to cus­tomer re­quests for “more whole­some and de­li­cious food op­tions.”

La Boulange founder Pas­cal Rigo joined the Star­bucks team as se­nior vice pres­i­dent of food. The com­pany said Tues­day that Rigo will be leav­ing Star­bucks now that the roll­out of La Boulange prod­ucts in stores is com­plete.

Star­bucks said sec­ond-quar­ter food sales rose 16%, with the chain’s new break­fast sand­wiches adding 35% growth for break­fast sales.

Shares of Star­bucks rose 28 cents, or 0.5%, to $53.24 on Wed­nes­day.

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