Struggling Starbucks Offers Breakfast 'Pairings'

The gourmet coffee chain mirrors McDonald's to attract customers.

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For years, Starbucks has thrived on an image of selling gourmet, premium products. The Seattle-based coffee chain has probably raked in millions of dollars in free advertising from photos of celebrities holding its drinks. But now, Starbucks is struggling to keep customers affected by a deepening recession and will offer breakfast "pairings" next month. Sounds more like McDonald's, actually.

Starbucks announced earlier this week that it would begin selling coffee and breakfast foods together for $3.95 on March 3. The new breakfast pairings could save consumers as much as $1.20. The discount includes a tall latte served with oatmeal or reduced-fat cinnamon swirl coffeecake. Customers can also pair a tall brewed coffee with one of four egg sandwiches.

The company's fiscal first-quarter results showed that same-store sales fell 10 percent in the United States. This is the largest decline for Starbucks.

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