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US Coffee Giant Starbucks to Close 600 US Stores

U.S.-based coffee chain Starbucks has announced plans to close 600 stores in the United States in the next year due to the weak U.S. economy.

The Seattle, Washington-based coffee seller announced the move on Tuesday during a conference call with reporters. The company says about 12,000 employees, or seven percent of its global workforce, will lose their jobs because of the closures.

It says it will open fewer than 200 stores in 2009.

Starbucks' Chief Financial Officer, Peter Bocian, said many of the stores being closed were located near other Starbucks stores. Because of the company's aggressive expansion practice, it is not uncommon in the United States to see two of the shops within blocks of or even across the street from each other.

The company also has been expanding worldwide, operating in 45 countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.