Put a Fork in Starbucks?

The proliferation of Starbucks outlets in New York and elsewhere may have peaked, according to this morning’s Wall Street Journal, halted by the sheer ubiquity of the coffee giant’s outlets.

For years, Starbucks Corp. has been able to throw up new stores, sometimes placing them across the street from each other, while sales at older stores still climbed at break-neck speed. But in the past year, the growth in Starbucks same-store sales revenue and number of transactions in the U.S. has slowed.

The proliferation has had a negative effect on Starbucks’ bottom line.

The concern is that the company has been adding locations so quickly that the new stores are cannibalizing the old ones to the point where the chain can’t increase its same-store sales at the rapid pace to which investors have grown accustomed. In the past year, shares of Starbucks have fallen about 37%.

Adelle Waldman reviewed for The Observer this week the new book, Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce and Culture.