After Takeover, Caribou Closes 80 Stores, Rebrands 88 Others

Just months after being taken private, Caribou Coffee is closing 80 locations in several markets; its new owner, meanwhile, will convert another 88 locations into Peet’s Coffee & Tea stores.

After Takeover, Caribou Closes 80 Stores, Rebrands 88 Others

Several months after Brooklyn Center-based Caribou Coffee Company, Inc., was acquired by a German holding company, the coffee chain is shuttering 80 locations.

An additional 88 Caribou locations, meanwhile, will be converted to Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Inc., locations.

The company said in a Tuesday e-mail to Twin Cities Business that three of Caribou's 201 locations in the greater Twin Cities area will be closed, and none will be converted to the Peet's banner, although it didn't specify which stores would be shuttered.

While the company didn't disclose how many employees would be affected nationwide, it said that affected workers "will be given the opportunity to explore open positions within Caribou whenever possible, and for locations transitioning to become Peet’s stores, Peet’s will invite Caribou Coffee team members to learn more about their company and explore opportunities with them.”

Caribou was one of Minnesota’s 50 largest public companies until January, when it was taken private by Joh. A. Benckiser Group (JAB) in a $340 million acquisition.

JAB bought Caribou several months after purchasing a majority stake in California-based Peet’s Coffee & Tea for about $1 billion. At the time of the takeover, however, there was no indication that major changes were planned for Caribou. When announcing its plans to be taken private, Caribou said that it would continue to operate as an independent, Twin Cities-based company, with its own brand, management team, and growth strategy. In fact, it appeared poised for growth.

“We anticipate the next chapter in Caribou’s journey will be filled with tremendous opportunities to grow this great brand, with new ownership,” Caribou President and CEO Michael Tattersfield said when announcing the acquisition plans.

But on Monday, in an e-mailed statement to Twin Cities Business, the company said that many closures are planned.

“Over the past few months, we at Caribou have revisited our business strategy, including closely evaluating our performance by market to make decisions that best position us for long-term growth,” the company said in its statement, which was attributed to Tattersfield.

A total of 80 “underperforming” stores will be shuttered on April 14, Tattersfield said, although he did not specify which stores will be closed. Going forward, the company will have 468 locations across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, western Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Denver, and 10 international markets, he added.

Another 88 stores will be rebranded as Peet’s over the next 12 to 18 months; they are in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois, and eastern Wisconsin, Tattersfield said.

“While the decisions we’ve made have been difficult for our team in Minneapolis, as well as our team members across the country and our guests and fans everywhere, we are working to make this transition as seamless as possible for the Caribou community,” he added.

Caribou currently has about 200 Minnesota locations, making it the company’s largest market by far. The company didn’t specify which Minnesota locations would be shuttered, although a store employee told the Star Tribune that a Twin Cities store—at 5309 Lyndale Avenue South in Minneapolis—will close.

Caribou said on Twitter, however, that the closures came after the company “decided to refocus our efforts on the greater Minnesota area.”

This isn’t the first change at the company since it came under new ownership: Despite previous signs that Caribou would include locations inside revamped J.C. Penney stores, Caribou has since reportedly scrapped those plans.

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