From: Reuters
Published March 19, 2008 01:49 PM

Starbucks plans new line, sees economic "tailspin"

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp <SBUX.O>, which is battling to revive U.S. growth in an economy that is in a "tailspin," plans to roll out a line of energy and health and wellness products, Chief Executive Howard Schultz said on Wednesday.

Schultz, who recently returned to the company to lead the turnaround, said Starbucks and other businesses are facing unprecedented business challenges.

"On one hand, you have an economy that is really in a tailspin," Schultz told shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Seattle.

He added that the subprime housing crisis, skyrocketing commodity costs, falling consumer confidence and rising gasoline prices have weighed on business.

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(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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