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    Starbucks Offers Details on Value Meals

    Coffeehouse chain will introduce $3.95 "breakfast pairings" in U.S. starting March 3.

    NEW YORK -- Starbucks Corp., which is trying to refashion its image as a more recession-friendly coffeehouse, offered more details Monday on the breakfast "pairings" it will sell beginning March 3, The Associated Press reported.

    The gourmet coffee chain said it will introduce value-meal type options priced at $3.95 each in its U.S. company-owned stores. Customers can order a tall latte and an oatmeal or a slice of reduced-fat cinnamon swirl coffee cake. Drip coffee drinkers can get a tall brewed coffee with a breakfast sandwich at the same price, according to the report.

    Starbucks said it will also launch two new breakfast sandwiches -- a bacon sandwich with egg and gouda cheese, and a ham sandwich made with egg and cheddar.

    Regular prices for the drinks and food items vary depending on the location of the store, but a tall latte and an oatmeal now can cost as much as $5. Starbucks said the pairings will provide customers with an average savings of as much as $1.20.

    Seattle-based Starbucks has struggled to keep its customers as the recession deepens and has promoted loyalty cards and other options to give customers more value without hurting its premium brand status, the AP reported.

    The company first mentioned the value pairings last month after it released fiscal first-quarter results that showed same-store sales -- or sales at stores open at least a year -- fell 10 percent in the U.S. The sales drop was the biggest yet for the company.

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