Starbucks says it will close 150 stores next year

The Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai China

Starbucks has not yet announced which stores will be closing.

Meanwhile, sales are expected to grow just 1 percent in the next quarter. And Tesley Advisory Group downgraded the stock to "market perform", cutting its share price target from $70, among the Street's highest, to $60, "pending stabilization in Starbucks' volatile trends".

"We must move faster to address the more rapidly changing preferences and needs of our customers", Kevin Johnson, Starbucks' CEO, said in a statement.

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Starbucks said it will return an additional $25 billion more to shareholders than initially planned in the form of share buybacks and dividends.

Starbucks' Executive Chairman Howard Schultz stepped away from the company in June surprising investors at time when the company has faced raft of worrying headlines.

When Starbucks released its second-quarter earnings in late April, the chain had net revenues of $6 billion, a 13.9 percent increase from $5.29 billion in the same period in fiscal year 2017.

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The Seattle-based company said it will close about 150 stores in fiscal 2019 in its most densely penetrated markets, 100 more than its historical average. One analyst estimates that new stores may be cannibalizing traffic from existing stores, potentially diverting 1 out of 7 transactions. The overall number of stores will continue to increase, but that growth will be focused.

According to Andy Sookram, who tracks the company for S&P Global, the issue is that sales at Starbucks locations open at least a year - an industry measure that takes a chain's unit growth into account - aren't as brisk as they historically have been.

Analysts also pointed to lower-than-expected same-restaurant sales in five of the previous six quarters at Starbucks' Americas business, which is dominated by its roughly 8,000 US cafes. Additionally, it plans to cut general and administrative costs, and has hired a consultant to help in this area. The company said the closures will result in a slightly lower growth rate in company-operated stores.

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