Starbucks stirred the financial world with its Fiscal Q4 earnings report. Surpassing most projections, the narrative was one of divergent tales between two major consumer bases.
Strong US Presence Remains
In the United States, the hunger for seasonal favorites like pumpkin spice and chai tea lattes shows no signs of cooling down. American customers continue to indulge in these premium offerings, demonstrating a willingness to spend on their beloved beverages.
In contrast, the scenario in China paints a different picture. Amid economic caution, Chinese patrons are holding tighter to their purse strings.
Starbucks’ overall revenue has risen by 11% to an impressive $9.4 billion. This figure eclipses the $9.28 billion forecasted by analysts, showcasing the brand’s robust performance. Adjusted earnings per share have also outperformed expectations, arriving at $1.06 compared to the predicted $0.97.
Globally, same-store sales witnessed an 8% uptick, propelled by a 4% growth in average order value and a 3% rise in customer visits.
Zooming in on North America and the US, consumers demonstrated a readiness to pay a premium for their seasonal drinks. Many add a record amount of food to their orders. That resulted in an 8% increase in same-store sales in the region.
China Is A Raw Diamond For Starbucks
Analyst David Tarantino of Baird highlighted the strategic role of promotions and the early launch of the fall beverage lineup in driving traffic against a challenging economic backdrop. Notably, this past quarter marked the 20th anniversary of the iconic pumpkin spice latte.
However, the narrative shifts when we look at international markets, where average order value declined, particularly in China. While international same-store sales grew by 5%, this was short of the 6.29% anticipated by analysts. Despite China’s same-store sales climbing by 5% and exceeding estimates, the rise in foot traffic did not translate to higher spending, as evidenced by a 3% decrease in average order value.
In his statement, CEO Laxman Narasimhan expressed confidence in the company’s momentum and growth potential amidst macroeconomic uncertainties.
Ongoing International Growth
Starbucks has consistently amplified its focus on international expansion. A testament to this is the announcement of its 20,000th store outside of North America and ambitious plans to burgeon its presence in China with an additional 9,000 stores over the next two years.
At the end of the last quarter, the US and China collectively accounted for 61% of Starbucks’ global portfolio, with 16,352 and 6,806 locations, respectively.
The quarter also saw the introduction of 816 new stores, bringing the total to 38,038. This network comprises 52% company-operated and 48% licensed establishments.
Another highlight is the growth of Starbucks’ loyalty program. In the US, active reward members, known for their higher spending habits, surged by 14% year-over-year to 32.6 million in Q4.
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