Starbucks has begun selling cups of coffee for $1 (51 pence) in selected stores in Seattle as part of a new trial.

The firm, famous for its luxury coffee, said that there was no guarantee that it would begin selling $1 coffee in all of its outlets in the US or worldwide, reports the BBC.

In recent times Starbucks has been hit by weaker consumer confidence and competition from cheaper coffee outlets. Last year the company's shares fell by 40%.

The company raised the price of many of its products following higher dairy and energy prices, however the raise in prices has been too much for many US consumers who are also facing higher bills and home loan repayments.

Reports that Starbucks had begun the scheme and were also experimenting with offering free refills for certain drinks first appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

A Starbucks spokeswoman said of the new scheme, We are conducting a test in the Seattle area. However, this test is not indicative of any new business strategy, reports the BBC.