Disappearing Starbucks outlets on Vancouver's West Side are part of the Seattle company's "bridge to the future"

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      It hasn't been an easy month for the many lovers of Starbucks coffee on Vancouver's West Side.

      That's because several outlets have closed, including the spacious store on West 10th Avenue in Point Grey Village, which is photographed above.

      Other West Side Starbucks stores have recently been shuttered in the 1700 block of West Broadway and in the 2200 and 2900 blocks of West 4th Avenue.

      It's part of a two-year plan revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission document on June 10.

      At the time, the company announced that it expected to open a net total of 300 new stores in the fiscal year in the Americas, down from an original plan for 600.

      "This repositioning will include the closure of up to 400 company-operated stores over the next 18 months in conjunction with the opening, over time, of a greater number of new, repositioned stores in different locations and with innovative store formats, yielding a U.S. portfolio that is optimized to enhance the customer experience, expand our retail presence and enable profitable growth for the future," Starbucks said.

      The Starbucks in the 1700 block of West Broadway has been closed for more than a month.
      Charlie Smith

      Here was the kicker for Canadians: "In addition to the U.S. store repositioning described above, we will restructure our company-operated business in Canada over the next two years, with the potential of up to 200 additional stores being closed, with some of those stores being repositioned."

      The Seattle-based coffee giant is expanding its capacity to increase sales through mobile, drive-through, and curbside pickup. It calls this its "bridge to the future" strategy.

      “Starbucks stores have always been known as the ’third place,’ a welcoming place outside of our home and work where we connect over a cup of coffee,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in June. “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.”

      The strategy appears to be a hit with investors.

      Starbucks shares are up 41 percent since June 11, closing on Friday at US$102.28 on NASDAQ.