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Originally published November 15, 2011 at 3:16 PM | Page modified November 16, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Starbucks raises prices on some coffee drinks

Starbucks says higher drink prices are due to higher costs of doing business.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Starbucks raised prices Tuesday on some drinks and says it lowered prices on others, in four regions including the Pacific Northwest.

"As part of our regular review of pricing, some prices went up and some went down," said spokesman Alan Hilowitz.

The changes are a result of "business conditions, commodities costs, occupancy costs, competitive reasons and geography," he said. It is unrelated to Starbucks deciding last week to end a $1.50 fee for whole-bean coffee purchases under a pound, the result of a consumer-rights investigation in Massachusetts.

People have been talking in email and on the website www.StarbucksGossip.com about Tuesday's increases — which appear to be in the 10- to 20-cent range, but not any decreases.

Hilowitz did not have examples of decreases, but said the price of Starbucks' most popular drink, a 16-ounce brewed coffee, stayed the same.

Other areas that saw price changes were Southern California, parts of the Midwest including Chicago, and Hawaii, Hilowitz said.

Starbucks last raised drink prices a year ago. CEO Howard Schultz said this year the chain was "trying desperately" not to raise drink prices across the board to counteract the high cost of coffee.

In March, it raised the price on whole-bean coffee sold in grocery stores by 12 percent, and in July the same coffee sold in cafes by 17 percent.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @AllisonSeattle.

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