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Starbucks, the coffee giant, is retrenching in it's home market as it contends with sales growth that Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson acknowledges isn't fast enough.

The coffee joint  plans to close about 150 company-operated stores in densely penetrated U.S. markets during the next fiscal year.   That is three times the number it historically shuts down annually.

In an interview Johnson said that their growth has slowed a bit, and said he thinks their shareholders deserve better, and that they are committed to addressing that.

The closing stores are often in" major metro areas where increases in wage and other regulatory requirements are making them unprofitable.    Johnson said that in a lot of ways, its middle America and the South that presents an opportunity.

"The competitive environment has really become a lot stronger in the U.S. and a lot of that is the fast-food chains really improving the quality and breadth of their offerings in terms of hot drinks and breakfast" says an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence.  "Americans can get that same flavor profile at a much lower price somewhere else".  That became an area of concern for Starbucks.

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