Will Starbucks Surprise Wall Sheet When It Reports Earnings Tomorrow?

Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX  ) is set to report its fiscal 2014 third-quarter earnings after the market closes on Thursday, July 24. Starbucks has been on fire recently and investors are hoping for yet another strong quarter from the coffee giant. Shares of Starbucks are up nearly 15% in the past year. However, there could be additional upside from here as the company expands into new dayparts and grows its consumer packaged goods business. With the company's quarterly results on the docket this week, let's look at Wall Street's estimates for the quarter and whether Starbucks could overdeliver on those projections.

Frothy expectations
First, let's take a look at the financials. Analysts expect Starbucks to post a GAAP profit of $0.66 per share in the period, up from earnings per share of $0.55 a year ago. While this is encouraging, it's at the high end of management's guidance for the quarter. That could make it challenging for the java giant to trump Wall Street this time around.

The Street is equally optimistic about Starbucks' ability to generate revenue in the quarter. Analysts are expecting second-quarter revenue to increase more than 10% to $4.1 billion. These expectations are ambitious, but if anyone can do it, the world's largest retail coffee chain can. Starbucks, after all, has met or exceeded Wall Street's lofty estimates in the past four consecutive quarters.

Specifically, investors should pay attention to Starbucks' consumer packaged goods segment. Its CPG business accounted for 11% of net revenues in the previous quarter and investors will want to see this number continuing to inch higher. In the past three years, in fact, Starbucks' consumer packaged goods business has doubled in scale and now reaches markets in more than 20 countries, according to research from Morningstar. Moreover, the company's CPG and foodservice revenue increased $184 million last year thanks to strong sales of its premium single-serve products.  

A Teavana tea bar in Los Angeles. Source: Starbucks. 

Going forward, annual revenue growth should also come from Starbucks' presence in other product categories as well. Starbucks is rolling out new product innovations like its Fizzio handcrafted sodas, an ever-expanding consumer packaged goods segment, and its burgeoning tea business. The company is now offering specialty soft drinks in 3,000 U.S. Starbucks locations. This is important because it gives the king of coffee an entrance into the $415 billion carbonated-beverage market.

Moving beyond coffee, Starbucks is also trying to conquer the lucrative tea market. Starbucks dove into the tea business a few years ago when it coughed up $620 million to purchase Teavana. This is another smart move by the coffee chain because tea is currently the second most-consumed beverage after water. This creates a clear growth opportunity for Starbucks in the $90 billion-plus global tea market.

The company's latest opportunities in carbonated drinks, and tea-related products in particular, would fit nicely into Starbucks' CPG segment once these brands gain some traction with consumers. Investors, therefore, should look for more color on how Starbucks' Teavana segment is growing, and how many stand-alone Teavana stores Starbucks plans to open in the quarters ahead.

What it all means
Ultimately, high expectations heading into Starbucks earnings could make it difficult for the company to surprise Wall Street with better-than-expected results this time around. However, longer term, Starbucks looks poised for favorable growth thanks to new product categories and new brand opportunities in its consumer packaged goods business.

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