Starbucks offers free ice cream
Attempt to boost sales of its own ice-cream flavor; follows other recent franchise giveaways.
June 29, 2005: 10:41 AM EDT
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp., whose sales growth has slowed in recent months, said Tuesday it would give away free ice cream at more than 6,000 of its U.S. coffee shops Wednesday afternoon.
The company said in a statement it is trying to generate interest in the Starbucks brand of ice cream, which it has been selling in grocery stores since 1995 as part of a joint venture with Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Holdings Inc. (Research)
But the move is also sure to reel in customers who might buy one of the chain's signature frothy coffee drinks to enjoy with their free treat.
Company spokesman Nick Davis said there was no plan for the chain to begin selling ice cream at its outlets.
Starbucks, which has added a line of music CDs to its product offerings, has been working to boost sales at established coffee shops but set a high bar for itself last year with strong sales.
Starbucks (Research) stock has fallen 15 percent this year, in part because of investor concerns that its days of posting double-digit sales increases are over.
In recent months, several U.S. restaurant chains have given away food in an effort to boost customer traffic.
McDonald's Corp. (Research) in February gave away free samples of its new fried chicken strips for three days, a tactic competitors later said hurt their sales.
Wendy's International Inc. (Research) also gave away free frosty drinks following the arrest of a woman who claimed she found a human finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili, an event that triggered intense media attention and hampered the chain's sales.