|Struggling to increase sales, Starbucks is testing new promotions this summer. (Melanie Conner/Getty Images)|
SEATTLE - Starbucks Corp. is testing several promotions in stores across the country, a move it hopes will help counter the drop in domestic store traffic that led to a decision to close 600 stores.
"One of the things we're consistently hearing in this day and age [is], even though budgets are tight, they still don't want to give up life's little luxuries," said Brad Stevens, vice president of customer relationship management at Starbucks, yesterday.
The promotions vary by region and timing. Starbucks would not say how many stores are planning promotions, only that the majority of its more than 11,000 US stores will offer some sort of deal between now and early September.
For example, through July 23, Starbucks is giving away 12-ounce iced coffees on Wednesdays to customers in Boston, Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington who present an "iced brewed coffee card," a reusable voucher distributed in stores and newspaper inserts. Through Monday, coffee drinkers in Atlanta and Indianapolis can get a free 12-ounce hot or iced coffee every day with a similar card.
And elsewhere, the company is selling discounted drinks throughout the day on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
The different deals are meant to reflect regional differences in the way people take their coffee, said Stevens, and to draw in new customers at a time when Starbucks is struggling with falling traffic in US stores. In its second quarter, Starbucks' profit sank 28 percent as US consumers made fewer trips to its stores.
Starbucks will wait to see if the promotions prove popular before deciding which, if any, it might extend.