SEATTLE (KRON) – Starbucks Corp. on Wednesday announced it is closing, modifying, or moving hundreds of stores in North America in response to a reduction in sales and evolving customer preferences during the coronavirus pandemic.

Starbucks said it is exploring new store formats to stimulate demand, such as erecting more pickup-only stores that do not have customer seating.

The coffee chain will also expand on other options amid changing times due to the pandemic, such as more drive-thru locations and curbside pickup.

The company expects to open 300 new stores in North America, which is half of its earlier estimate.

That includes the closure of 400 company-operated ones over the next 18 months alongside the opening of a “greater number of new, repositioned stores in different locations and with innovative store formats.”

“As we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, we are accelerating our store transformation plans to address the realities of the current situation, while still providing a safe, familiar and convenient experience for our customers,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a news release Wednesday.

Starbucks is also examining its Canada operations and plans to restructure its business there over the next two years. 

Shares fell more than 4.5% in trading Wednesday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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