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Coffee City

Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.

November 1, 2009 at 11:47 AM

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Starbucks grows up: Now that its hip phase has passed, what are the lasting strengths of its brand?

Posted by Melissa Allison

starbucks1[1].JPGWith fourth quarter earnings coming out on Thursday, it seems like a good time for a recap. Check out what consultants, Starbucks, a big investor and longtime customer and recently established blogger Melody Overton (of have to say about Starbucks' former hipness and where it goes from here.

[Update: This story's comments are pretty lively, including this gem: "I am not judging her, just inferring that anyone who goes to a Sbux as a regular is going for emotional issues." What about people who frequent other coffee shops? Or bars?]

Analysts predict a 3 percent drop in same-store sales for the fourth quarter, which would be an improvement from recent quarters, but still a decline on top of last year's 7 percent fourth-quarter drop.

The photo is of Overton outside Starbucks' 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea shop on Capitol Hill, by Seattle Times photographer Ken Lambert.

I worked this weekend, including writing about Tent City 4 moving to Bellevue and an obituary of Chuck "Mr. Kirkland" Morgan, and will be out on Monday and Tuesday.

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