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Starbucks burned by social-justice appeasement as growth stalls, stock plunges

• By Valerie Richardson

Starbucks may have appeased progressives with its social-justice workshops and open-bathroom policy, but such moves have failed to caffeinate the company's bottom line.

The coffee giant's stock took a tumble Wednesday after CEO Kevin Johnsonannounced that Starbucks would close 150 company-owned stores next year instead of the expected 50, with an emphasis on underperforming shops in densely populated urban areas, and lowered growth projections.

Mr. Johnsonacknowledged that the decision to shut down 8,000 U.S. stores on May 29 for anti-bias training, driven by the high-profile arrests of two black men in Philadelphia, played a role in the company's sluggish second-quarter performance.

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