Starbucks Closes 600 Stores in 2008; Opens 800 More in 2011

In 2008, Starbucks moved to close 600 stores nationwide, a decision by the coffee giant to eliminate stores that weren't contributing to the bottom line and cannibalizing the business of other, closer Starbucks locations that had long since paid for their own overhead and were being dutiful profit-generators.

In all, Houston lost 11 Starbucks locations -- not a huge loss, considering the number of excellent coffee shops that have cropped up in their wake.

Yet despite cleaning out 600 stores only three short years ago, Starbucks is back with a new strategy, according to Nation's Restaurant News: win and win big. And this means opening 200 Starbucks locations nationwide, any many more in international markets like China.

Of the 200 new locations to open in the U.S., what's the likelihood that any of them will re-open in old locations? Unlikely, as Starbucks's new strategy includes "a more disciplined approach to real estate acquisition." Probably a smart move, considering the famous trifecta of Starbucks in Houston at Shepherd and West Gray, which comedian Lewis Black once referred to as "the end of the universe."

Regardless, don't expect Starbucks's growth to slow any time soon. The company posted a 34 percent increase in net profits in its last quarter. And Starbucks CEO Jim Schultz says, simply, "The U.S. market has not reached a saturation point."

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