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Starbucks to close stores for racial-bias training

World News | Published:

Starbucks says the stores will be closed on the afternoon on May 29.

Starbucks president Kevin Johnson (Richard Drew/AP)

Starbucks plans to close more than 8,000 US stores for several hours next month to conduct racial-bias training for nearly 175,000 workers.

The announcement comes after the arrests of two black men at a Philadelphia store sparked protests and calls for a boycott on social media.

A video showed police talking with two black men seated at a table. After a few minutes, officers handcuff the men and lead them outside as other customers say they weren’t doing anything wrong.

Philadelphia-area media said the two were waiting for a friend.

The company reacted from a high level: Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson called the arrests “reprehensible” and said he wanted to apologise to the two men face-to-face.

The company and a lawyer for the two men said they did meet, and Mr Johnson delivered the apology.

Starbucks also said the employee who called police no longer works at the store, but declined to give details.

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Mr Johnson had also promised to revamp store management training to include the “unconscious-bias” training.

Starbucks said that the company-owned stores and corporate offices will be closed on the afternoon of May 29 for the training.

The company said the training is “designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome”.

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