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Starbucks closes half its China stores due to coronavirus concerns

The closures could slow the Seattle-based company's sales momentum.

Editor's note: The video above on Starbucks in China first aired in October 2016. 

It was a happy holiday at Starbucks, but the coronavirus outbreak in China could slow the company's sales momentum. 

New drinks like the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew were a hit with customers in the October-December period, helping the Seattle-based coffee giant beat Wall Street's earnings forecast. 

Starbucks' earnings rose 16% to $886 million in its fiscal first quarter. Adjusted earnings of 79 cents per share beat Wall Street's forecast of 76 cents. 

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But the company said it has already closed more than half its stores in China and doesn't yet know how the coronavirus will impact its sales.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
In this Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 photo, delivery drivers wear face masks as they wait for orders at a Starbucks cafe in Beijing. Fears of a virus outbreak have kept many indoors and at home in China's capital. Cultural landmarks such as the Great Wall and Forbidden City have closed their doors to visitors, nearly deserted shopping malls have reduced their operating hours, and restaurants that remain open draw just a handful of customers.