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Confirmed: Caribou is closing 80 shops; rebranding 88 others

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Caribou Coffee Co. Inc. has confirmed that it's closing 80 under-performing shops nationwide, KARE 11 reports. Another 88 locations will be converted to Peet's Coffee and Tea over the next 12 to 18 months.

"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 a written statement to the station. "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."

At least two Minnesota shops -- the Caribous at 5309 Lyndale Ave. S. in Minneapolis and 6600 Lyndale Ave. S. in Richfield -- are among those slated for closure on Sunday, April 14, the Pioneer Press reports.

Rumors of the closures began this weekend after employees and customers at several Caribou Coffee locations in Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina were greeted by "store closing" signs, according to several media outlets.

Unhappy coffee lovers took to social media to voice their distaste.

Despite shrinking its retail footprint by more than 25 percent, Caribou's CEO told the Business Journal that no cutbacks are planned at its Brooklyn Center headquarters.

"Our support center in Minneapolis, also home to of our state-of-the-art Caribou roasting facility, is a crucial part of what Caribou is all about and why we’re able to deliver such extraordinary experiences to fans on an everyday basis at our retail locations and through our grocery offering," CEO Mike Tattersfield said in an email statement to the Journal "At this time, we have not made plans to change our support structure in Minneapolis."

Joh. A. Benckiser, a German private equity group, bought Caribou for about $340 million in December, just months after acquiring Peet’s Coffee and Tea for $1 billion.

Last month, Caribou's CEO said the chain was no longer pursuing a partnership with J.C. Penney Co. to set up shops inside revamped stores.

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