Starbucks closing La Boulange shops by September's end

SEATTLE (KTVU and AP) — Starbucks will close all of its La Boulange cafes by the end of September.

It bought the bakery chain in 2012 to address customer complaints about an uninspiring menu.

The company said there has been strong growth in food sales since the $100 million acquisition three years ago, but that running the 23 La Boulange restaurants, which are mostly found in San Francisco, is no longer sustainable.

Starbucks will also shutter two manufacturing plants that supplied La Boulange and an Evolution Fresh retail store in San Francisco.

La Boulange food will still be available at Starbucks in the U.S. and Canada.

Shares of Starbucks Corp. reached an all-time high of $53.14 on Tuesday and edged higher before the opening bell Wednesday.

Patrons at the La Boulange in Palo Alto were stunned and said they hope the space stays a local company.

"I was just telling somebody when I had a meeting over here, it's really awesome there are places like this," said Prekka Parnanen who lives in Los Altos. "I'm really surprised. It's popular because as you can see the lines now, it's always full."

"We have an issue of retail sometimes being displaced by office," said Mark Weiss who lives in Palo Alto. "Hopefully that won't happen here and it will be another opportunity for another local company to start a café on University Avenue. That would be the best outcome."