Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) closed 8% higher on July 26 after beating earnings estimates when it announced its fiscal third-quarter results the day before. Given its size and valuation, some wonder whether the rock star among coffee retailers still has room to run. I’m going to cover six reasons why its star should continue to shine.
First, a brief recap of its quarterly results:
- Revenue increased 13% to $3.7 billion
- EPS increased 28% to $0.55
- Comparable store sales grew 8% — U.S. and China/Asia Pacific were particularly strong at 9%
Reason 1: CEO
Top management is a huge factor in a company’s long-term success. Winners often keep winning – and Howard Schultz has proven he can win. Schultz has a strong business model to work with and should adeptly guide the company to the winner’s circle in newer markets (notably, Asia), just as he’s done in the U.S.
Reason 2: Coffee is addictive & nearly recession-proof
Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) is in the right business. It sells a product that many not only love, but crave. Sales of coffee are less sensitive to challenging economic times than are other consumer discretionary products.
The major coffee players are having a great year. Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)‘ stock is up 39%, cafe chain franchiser Dunkin Brands Group Inc (NASDAQ:DNKN) is up 44%, and single-serve coffee king and Keurig maker Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR) is up 327%.
Reason 3: Atmosphere
Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)‘ cafes are aesthetically-pleasing, comfortable, and clean. And there’s free Wi-Fi, to boot.
I find the knocks at Starbucks’ coffee as “over-priced” interesting. Just as with all restaurants, one pays not only for the meal, but also for the atmosphere and service. The three comprise the “experience.”
For those who want a huge selection of tasty coffees, an ever-expanding selection of food and beverage offerings, and a pleasing environment in which to enjoy their goodies, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) has few to no peers among the chains. (Panera Bread provides the closest atmosphere comparison, in my opinion.)
Dunkin’ Donuts? I don’t view Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) and Dunkin Brands Group Inc (NASDAQ:DNKN)‘ – at least in my area (the Northeast, Dunkin Brands Group Inc (NASDAQ:DNKN)‘s roots and core) as strong competitors. While there’s surely some customer overlap, they’re largely serving different customers. And even for those that frequent both, they’re largely filling different needs. If I were a donut person and wanted coffee and donuts to take out, I might choose Dunkin’. But, I’m not going to meet a friend for a coffee or lunch at my local Dunkin’.
Reason 4: Product & service offerings
Two words sum things up: innovation and leverage. Starbucks is always tweaking existing product offerings and expanding into new ones. And it’s usually ahead of the curve when it comes to trends in food, beverages, and technology.
- Just tapped Google to make Wi-Fi at its U.S. cafes 10 times faster.
- It’s teaming with Danone to create Greek and other yogurt products. Products will be sold under the Evolution Fresh, Inspired by Dannon label, and be available in cafes and grocery channels.
- Announced in June that Seattle’s Best Coffee Frozen Coffee Blends, created with Inventure, were available in grocery channels.
La Boulange. Teavana is a premium tea retailer with locations in shopping centers. Look for Starbucks to do with tea what it has done with coffee — expand the premium market and turn it into an experience. In a wise move, Starbucks will open the first street-front Teavana this fall in New York City.