SEATTLE, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. retail coffee giant Starbucks said it would try a three-point approach to getting through what could end up as the holiday blahs.
The company said it was issuing thousands of free discount cards to its best customers and selling the card, which discounts most items by 10 percent, for $25. It has also brought prices down for many holiday gift items, including its coffee sampler -- now $12.95 as opposed to last year's price of $14.95. And, it said it would continue selling gift cards through Costco for less than face value, USA Today reported Monday.
Costco has sold nearly 1 million cards in one month, Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said.
"We're putting ourselves in a position to navigate though this very difficult environment," Schultz told the newspaper in a phone interview from Europe.
"The trick for Starbucks is to remain a premium brand but stay within reach of most consumers," said analyst David Palmer at UBS, who estimated Starbuck's same store sales would be down 6 percent for its fiscal fourth quarter.