Judge says Starbucks can't close some Teavana stores

Starbucks (SBUX) must keep 77 Teavana stores open as a lifeline to the malls in which they're located, a judge has ruled. The move has serious potential implications in what's been dubbed the year of the "retail apocalypse."

Starbucks said in July it would close all 379 Teavana stores, citing malls' lower foot traffic. But Simon Property Group, a shopping mall operator, sued to stop the closures in its malls, the New York Post reported. 

Simon argued that Teavana's exit would be a financial blow to its malls, leading other stores to close, according to Fox Business. It also contended that Starbucks, which is valued at $84 billion, was better equipped financially to keep the stores open.

An Indiana judge agreed and issued a preliminary injunction requiring Starbucks to keep 77 stores in Simon's malls open, according to the Post.

The unusual move could lead to other mall operators suing to keep from losing tenants. It's particularly significant in the year of the "retail apocalypse," which has already seen 6,800 stores close.