As global coffee and food giant Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) began selling its famous pumpkin spice lattes nationwide Tuesday, it attempted to sneak in some price increases at a large portion of its locations.
The Seattle-based chain’s fall favorite item is crucial to its seasonal sales, even more so as the company struggles to revamp its U.S. business, while analysts warn that its thousands of store locations are now eating away at each other’s sales. (See also: Starbucks Stores Are Finally Cannibalizing Each Other: BMO Downgrades.)
No Announcement Last Time
According to Business Insider, new price hikes on items including various sizes of brewed coffee, select espresso drinks, bacon Gouda breakfast sandwiches and cookies, started on Tuesday and affected about 10% of menu items. The price hikes were anywhere from $0.10 to $0.30 and varied based on the market.
Starbucks did not comment on how many of its 8,000 locations saw price increases this week, yet spokesperson Sanja Gould indicates that the firm was expecting 10% of its U.S. customers’ average customer ticket to increase by about 0.5% as a result of the beverage adjustments. Gould added that the increase was necessary to “balance business needs while continuing to provide value to our loyal customers.”
It remains unclear whether the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte became more expensive compared to last year, with prices generally ranging from about $4.25 to $4.45 for a 12 oz. beverage. Starbucks-goers took to social media this week to express their frustration on platforms such as Twitter Inc. (TWTR). Similarly, in November, Starbucks upped prices at many of its locations without any press release or advanced notice. (See also: McDonald’s Defies Starbucks, Offers Pumpkin Spice Latte in August.)