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Starbucks has been a longtime pick of Motley Fool superinvestor David Gardner, and has risen 60% since he recommended it in 2006. David specializes in identifying game-changing companies like this long before others are keen to their disruptive potential and helping like-minded investors profit while Wall Street catches up. I invite you to learn more about how he picks his winners with a free, personal tour of his flagship service: Supernova. Inside you'll discover the science behind his market-trouncing returns. Just click here now for instant access.
Eric Bleeker: Let's move on to Starbucks. This is a company definitely firing on all cylinders since the return of Howard Schultz. It's not hard to find reasons to buy this company, because they're executing so well, but what are the three reasons that you're looking at right now?
Austin Smith: To buy? I see growth opportunities that are numerous. This is a company that trades at a premium multiple. When you look at it on the surface, it's easy to say, "Well, why would I want to pay this much for a company that's near saturation in their domestic market?"
Starbucks has recognized that, and they're still going for big growth in other ways. One is international. They're expanding into India, China in a meaningful way -- we know China's going to be a big growth driver for them -- but also in their own domestic divisions. They're going CPG in a big way. They've got deals with PepsiCo and Unilever. They're going for home brewers with their Verismo device, which is going to compete with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. They're going for energy drinks, they're going for smoothies, they just bought Teavana.
There's a lot of other growth drivers here, both domestically and internationally, that a lot of investors are missing. When you have a company that operates and executes as well on their brand as Starbucks has, and they have this huge footprint to build off of -- they introduced tea in their bricks-and-mortar stores already, they can add more locations -- there's a lot of growth opportunities beyond the standard Starbucks bricks-and-mortar experience that so many people simply associate the company with.
For instance, on their international front, there's one Starbucks for every 22,000 people in the United States, one for every 2 million in China, so there's a huge runway there, internationally. The Starbucks in China have been very well-received. Average ticket price is actually higher than many domestic locations, so big growth drivers there to justify the multiple.
Then another reason to buy it is leadership. Howard Schultz, a guy that brought Starbucks back from the ashes in 2008, has made them a great company again.
We know the importance of visionary leaders here at the Fool -- it's one of our core investing philosophies -- and Howard Schultz is about as good as it gets. He's passionate, he's visionary, he's dedicated to their product and he's shown a very high level of competence in bringing Starbucks where they are today, and I think he's going to continue to execute.