Starbucks earnings top estimates as sales rebound quicker than expected in U.S., China

People wear protective face masks outside Starbucks in Union Square as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 29, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

Starbucks on Thursday reported that sales in the U.S. and China are recovering from the coronavirus pandemic more quickly than expected, helping global same-store sales shrink just 9%.

The global coffee chain’s sales have been boosted by customers spending more on their Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Frappuccinos, although foot traffic remains down. The company’s outlook for fiscal 2021 is projecting a faster rebound than expected by analysts.

Shares of the stock initially rose after the report, but were now down about 2%.

Here’s what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: 51 cents, adjusted, vs. 31 cents expected
  • Revenue: $6.2 billion vs. $6.06 billion expected

Starbucks reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $392.6 million, or 33 cents per share, down from $802.9 million, or 67 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the coffee chain earned 51 cents per share, beating the 31 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Net sales dropped 8% to $6.2 billion, topping expectations of $6.06 billion. The company estimates that it lost $1.2 billion in sales because of the coronavirus pandemic. Global same-store sales fell 9%. While customers are spending more on their coffee orders, Starbucks saw the number of transactions fall.

In the United States, same-store sales fell 9%. Active membership in Starbucks’ U.S. loyalty program rose 10% to 19.3 million people. In China, its second-largest market, same-store sales declined by just 3%.

Starbucks opened 480 net new cafes during the quarter. In the next fiscal year, it anticipates 1,100 net new stores and $1.9 billion in capital expenditures.

Starbucks expects to earn between $2.70 and $2.90 per share, after adjustments, on revenue of $28 billion to $29 billion in fiscal 2021.

Global same-store sales are expected to grow 18% to 23% for the year, with U.S. same-store sales forecast to increase 17% to 22% and China same-store sales growth of 27% to 32%.

For the fiscal first quarter, the company projects adjusted earnings of 50 cents to 55 cents per share.

The company’s board raised its dividend to 45 cents. While many companies chose to suspend their dividends at the onset of lockdowns, Starbucks chose to keep paying it out to shareholders.

Read the full earnings report here.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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