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Starbucks Earnings Today: 3 Metrics to Watch

By Daniel Sparks - Jan 28, 2020 at 6:03AM

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In fiscal 2020, can the coffee giant keep up the strong momentum it saw last year?

Starbucks (SBUX 3.87%) is one of many companies reporting earnings this week as earnings season continues to ramp up. The coffee giant is scheduled to announce its fiscal first-quarter results after market close today.

Following a strong fiscal 2019 in which comparable-store sales growth accelerated from 2% in fiscal 2018 to 5%, investors will look to the company's fiscal first-quarter results to see if the consumer goods company can kick off fiscal 2020 with similar momentum.

Here are some key areas for investors to check on when Starbucks reports earnings after the bell today.

A Starbucks store

Image source: Starbucks.

1. Global comps growth

Just as is the case for most retailers, one of the primary metrics for investors to watch is Starbucks' comps growth. Starbucks defines this metric as sales at company-operated stores open 13 months or longer. 

In fiscal Q4, global comps increased 5% year over year. This gain was driven by a 3% boost in average ticket amounts and a 2% increase in transactions. Comps growth in the Americas and the U.S. was particularly strong, increasing 6% year over year. Growth in China (Starbucks' most important growth market) was also robust at 5%.

In the first quarter of fiscal 2020, investors should look for this metric to highlight more growth. Specifically, investors should watch for it to be somewhere in management's full-year guidance range for the metric. In the company's most recent quarterly update, management said it expects fiscal 2020 comparable store sales to increase between 3% and 4%.

2. Revenue growth

Another key item to watch will be Starbucks' revenue growth, which is driven by both comps growth and new store openings. In fiscal Q4, revenue increased 7% year over year, or 10% year over year on an adjusted basis.

While management's guidance for slower comps growth in fiscal 2020 implies some deceleration in total revenue growth, any deceleration should be moderate in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

3. Starbucks Rewards members in China

Finally, investors should look for continued momentum in Starbucks' China-based digital rewards program, which was revamped during the first quarter of fiscal 2019. Starbucks Rewards members in China hit 10 million by the end of fiscal 2019, up 45% year over year.

Rapid growth in Starbucks' digital loyalty program and in delivery from online orders has helped mobile orders grow to account for 10% of total sales in China during fiscal Q4. Look for continued success in these programs to remain an important revenue driver for the market during the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

Starbucks reports its fiscal first-quarter results after market close today.

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