Starbucks traffic slows, store expansion cut by 100

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For the first time ever, Starbucks saw its in-store traffic drop — by 1 percent — during the summer.

So, the retail coffee giant is taking steps to ensure it’ll meet its growth goals.

The company will launch its first national television advertising campaign today with prime-time ads airing between now and Christmas. District managers will spend more time in stores, and the company will cut back on the variety of drinks it serves.

By anyone’s measures the company isn’t doing so bad, U.S. sales rose 19 percent during the fourth quarter, mostly because of a 9–cent price hike on drinks.

Still, the representative announced that the company would scale back its projected store growth in the United States by 100 stores.

It now only plans to open 900 Starbucks licensed U.S. stores during fiscal year 2008 — an average of 18 per state.