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Originally published January 3, 2012 at 12:03 PM | Page modified January 4, 2012 at 6:40 AM

Starbucks raises drink prices in Northeast, South

Last raised prices in Northwest in November.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Starbucks raised prices in the Northeast and across southern states Tuesday in what it expects will boost the average purchase there by about 1 percent.

It raised prices in November in the Pacific Northwest, California, the Midwest and Hawaii.

Prices on some popular drinks, including 16-ounce brewed coffee and lattes, were unchanged on Tuesday, said spokesman Jim Olson.

"These adjustments were based on a combination of competitive dynamics for these regions as well as cost of doing business," he said. He declined to elaborate on what costs of doing business have increased in the past couple months. "We have not disclosed any specifics, and we are in a quiet period because earnings are coming up in three weeks."

Some companies are selective about what information they divulge before earnings announcements, while others are very open with public information during those times.

Coffee commodity prices hit multi-decade highs in the past year, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said last year the chain was "trying desperately" not to raise drink prices across the board to counteract those higher costs.

Instead, Starbucks raised prices on selected products and in limited markets. Its last nationwide price increase was in 2007.

Markets affected on Tuesday include New York, where the price of a tall brewed coffee rose 10 cents, Boston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Dallas. All southern states except southern Florida saw increases.

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

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