MINNEAPOLIS — Caribou Coffee, the second-largest coffee chain in America after Starbucks, will close 80 underperforming stores and rebrand another 88 Caribou outlets to Peet's Coffee & Tea, just five months after the Brooklyn Center, Minn.-based company was purchased by a German company for $340 million.
Licensed and franchised Caribou locations in Nebraska will not be impacted, the company said. Caribou has eight outlets in Nebraska, seven of them in Hy-Vee stores in Lincoln, Grand Island and Omaha, according to Caribou's website.
In a statement Monday, Caribou didn't name which stores it would be closing Sunday. Caribou will remain a chain of 468 outlets in Minnesota, the Dakotas, western Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina and Denver, the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis reported.
Caribou coffee houses in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, eastern Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., will be converted to Peet's, also owned by the German conglomerate, Joh. A. Benckiser Group.
"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," Caribou CEO Michael Tattersfield said in a news statement.
The Benckiser Group bought Caribou in December, taking the once-publicly traded company private. Benckiser earlier in 2012 also bought California-based Peet's for almost $1 billion.
At the time it bought Caribou, Benckiser gave no indication that it planned to change strategies.
Forbes magazine speculated in December that a merger of the Caribou and Peet's brands might be likely. "To German bean-counters, it may simply not make sense in the long run to maintain two headquarters staffs and facilities for such similar businesses," Forbes reported.