SEATTLE Starbucks Corp., after announcing plans to close more stores and slow the growth of its primary brand, last month briefly turned the spotlight toward its lesser-known specialty coffee concept, Seattle’s Best. —In Starbucks’ first-quarter earnings call with analysts on Jan. 28, Howard Schultz, Starbucks Corp. chairman, president and chief executive, unveiled plans to expand franchising of Seattle’s Best, a 550-unit chain that so ...

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