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10 Key Metrics From Starbucks Corporation's Fourth Quarter

By Daniel Sparks – Updated Nov 15, 2016 at 4:58PM

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Starbucks' stock may be down this year, but its underlying business is growing handsomely.

With Starbucks (SBUX -0.08%) stock down about 15% during the past 12 months, it's a good time for investors to check in on the company to see how the underlying business is actually performing. Fortunately, investors have access to some fresh figures from Starbucks' Nov. 3 fourth-quarter earnings report. Here are some of the most insightful metrics from the report.

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4%: Beginning with one of the coffee giant's most closely watched metrics, Starbucks' U.S. comparable-store sales (sales at company-operated stores open 13 months or longer) increased 4% year over year. As Starbucks' largest geographic segment, comparable-store sales in the U.S. market give investors a glimpse into the health of the company's core business.

In the company's fourth-quarter earnings call (via a Reuters transcript), Starbucks chief operating officer Kevin Johnson gave a more specific breakdown of comparable-store sales for the market:

Our U.S. comps included a 6% increase in ticket and a 1% decline in transactions resulting from a shift in customer behavior away from order splitting and toward order consolidation. This follows a foundational change we made to our rewards program, taking it from a frequency- based to a spend-based model.

6%: Comparable-store sales in China were up 6%. While the metric was down from 7% year-over-year growth in Q3, it's still high enough to highlight continued optimism for Starbucks in the important growth market.

16%: Starbucks' revenue during its third quarter was up a substantial 16% compared to the year-ago quarter -- a meaningful acceleration compared to Starbucks' third-quarter year-over-year revenue growth of 7%.

26%: EPS for Q4 was $0.54, up 26% from the year-ago quarter. Backing out the inclusion of $0.06 related to an extra week during the quarter (when compared to the year-ago period), EPS was up 12%. Starbucks' non-GAAP EPS, adjusted to exclude the extra week, was $0.50, up 16% compared to the year-ago period.

690: Highlighting its ongoing aggressive expansion, the company opened 690 net new stores during the quarter, bringing its total global store count to 25,085.

18%: Despite some initial pushback from Starbucks customers about the company's change to its loyalty program earlier this year to emphasize transaction amounts instead of ticket counts, the coffee-maker's rewards program is firing on all cylinders. Starbucks' rewards membership was up 18% year over year in Q3. Further, mobile payments now represent 25% of all transactions, up from 20% in the year-ago quarter.

Image source: Starbucks.

5,000: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was optimistic about the company's progress in China, noting the company is "doubling down" on the market. Specifically, Starbucks plans to have over 5,000 stores in China by 2021, up from about 2,400 stores in the country today.

During the fourth-quarter earnings call, Schultz' detailed why he's so excited about the market:

Perhaps nowhere in the world has the Starbucks experience come to life more powerfully and been embraced more enthusiastically than in China, a country we first entered 17 years ago. I personally observed this again firsthand on my visit to the market just two weeks ago. Starbucks Stores in China are among our most elegant, efficient and profitable of any stores in the world ... By building the foundation of our business in China carefully, methodically and respectfully, we are creating a growth and profit engine that will continue to accelerate for decades to come.

75: Highlighting just how global Starbucks' brand is, the company entered its 75th country during Q4.

2,100: Starbucks plans to open 2,100 net new stores globally in fiscal 2017, representing an 8.4% increase over the stores Starbucks had open at the end of fiscal 2016.

4% to 6%: Management expects healthy comparable-store sales growth to continue into fiscal 2017, guiding for "mid-single digit comparable-store sales growth globally" for the year.

This overview of Starbucks' recent performance shows the company continues to grow its business rapidly and resonate with customers. With increasing comparable-store sales and unmistakable opportunity for further expansion, Starbucks' business is looking solid.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Starbucks. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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