With consumers cutting back, it's not a good time to be considered a luxury.
Americans have slashed spending by 40% in the past six months, excluding regular living costs, according to the polling firm Gallup. That's bad news for companies like Starbucks
Starbucks faces the challenge that many companies, large and small, are grappling with: making a premium service seem more affordable. These days, companies must prove the value of their products, or customers will consider them something they can do without. Firms of all sizes will be watching Starbucks as it tries to reposition itself without losing fans.
Schultz's initial goal was to reinvigorate the brand, but he quickly found himself caught in the throes of an economic slowdown. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 9% in the quarter that ended Dec. 28 compared with a year ago.