Jon Chesto writes in the Patriot Ledger that Stop & Shop and its Giant Food affiliate are shutting down nearly half of their in-store Starbucks kiosks.
“It was a business decision we arrived at with Starbucks,” said Faith Weiner, a spokeswoman for Quincy-based Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. “We did a business review together, and we decided these kiosks were not performing at levels that were acceptable and would allow them to continue to operate.”
The kiosk closures began last month and will be completed by mid-September, Weiner said. The affected kiosks are in 26 Stop & Shop stores and 17 Giant stores.
All of the kiosk employees work directly for Stop & Shop and Giant, which are part of the same operating division of Dutch conglomerate Royal Ahold, and the supermarket company is a Starbucks licensee. Weiner said none of the affected employees will be forced out of work: They are being offered other jobs in Stop & Shop and Giant stores.
After the closures, there will be 56 Starbucks kiosks in Stop & Shop and Giant stores, Weiner said. Another five Starbucks kiosks will open by the end of the year.
Royal Ahold last week reported that the operating income of its Stop & Shop/Giant division – more than 500 supermarkets – would include an impairment charge of $7 million primarily related to the closing of the in-store Starbucks kiosks.
In some locations where Starbucks kiosks are closing, Stop & Shop will replace them with automated Van Houtte coffee kiosks, Weiner said.
In certain other Stop & Shop stores, shoppers can stop at a Dunkin’ Donuts kiosk for coffee. Weiner said some locations in upstate New York have self-serve stations with Green Mountain coffee instead.
“We know that customers do like to have coffee when they shop,” Weiner said. “It’s a nice convenience. We continue to try to figure out what the best way is to offer that option to customers.”