Starbucks is losing market share, closing stores, and laying-off employees. According to Harvard Business Oneline, the reason is Wall Street and the pressures of going public. Founder Hoard Schultz in an internal memo notes that, "Stores no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store." Attributing the problem to Wall Street, author John Quelch notes:
Schultz sought, admirably, to bring good coffee and the Italian coffee house experience to the American mass market. Wall Street bought into the vision of Starbucks as the "third place" after home and work. New store openings and new product launches fueled the stock price. But sooner or later chasing quarterly earnings growth targets undermined the Starbucks brand.
The article goes on to note that in an interest to protect the company's status in the investment community, Starbucks stopped paying attention to the qualities that launched the company in the first place. It began focusing on things that would goose quarterly earnings rather than things that would enhance the Starbucks experience.