Starbucks tops earnings estimates even as U.S. recovery hurt by Covid resurgence

Kevin Johnson, CEO, Starbucks

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Starbucks on Tuesday reported that its U.S. same-store sales fell 5% during its fiscal first quarter after a surge of new Covid-19 cases led to harsher dining restrictions.

The company also announced that COO Roz Brewer will be leaving Starbucks at the end of February to become chief executive of another publicly traded company. Her responsibilities will be split up among other members of the existing leadership team.

Shares fell about 1% in extended trading.

Here’s what the company reported for the quarter ended Dec. 27 compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: 61 cents, adjusted, vs. 55 cents expected
  • Revenue: $6.75 billion vs. $6.93 billion expected

The company reported fiscal first-quarter net income of $622.2 million, or 53 cents per share, down from $885.7 million, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the coffee giant earned 61 cents per share, topping the 55 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Net sales dropped 5% to $6.75 billion, falling short of expectations of $6.93 billion. Worldwide, the company’s same-store sales fell 5%. The chain saw 19% fewer transactions during the quarter, but the average ticket jumped 17%.

In the U.S., same-store sales fell by 5%. The company’s recovery in its home market was hampered by another surge of new Covid-19 cases as the temperatures grew colder. The number of Starbucks Rewards members who have been active in the last 90 days rose 15% to 21.8 million people.

In China, Starbucks’ second-largest market, same-store sales turned positive for the first time since the health crisis started. Its same-store sales rose 5%, although transactions still declined compared with the same time a year ago.

The company opened 278 net new cafes during the quarter and now has a footprint nearing 33,000 locations.

Next quarter, Starbucks is forecasting U.S. same-store sales growth of 5% to 10%. In China, same-store sales are expected to nearly double. It expects to earn 36 cents to 41 cents per share. On an adjusted basis, it’s projecting earnings per share of 45 cents to 50 cents.

The company also raised its outlook for its fiscal 2021 earnings. It now expects earnings per share between $2.42 to $2.62, up from its prior forecast of $2.34 to $2.54.

Read the full earnings report here.

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