I like that Chuck included such fascinating data about Starbucks'
Oversaturation is an old argument, though, and I think Starbucks has years before it comes to pass. The company has deftly chosen locations where it can optimize sales potential from pedestrian traffic flow. Close proximity has ensured that if one store is too crowded, customers can always easily hit the next, ensuring that they don't miss their coffee -- and Starbucks doesn't miss its sale. Given how populous (and pedestrian) New York City is, placing so many Starbucks in a very small area makes more sense. Besides, two miles is a far different distance to urban workers travelling on foot than it is to suburban commuters in their cars.
Meanwhile, Starbucks still has plenty of room for growth, especially into suburbs, smaller towns, and college towns. Consider its forays into airports, hotels, and other locations where people crave a satisfying yet familiar experience. And of course, it's looking at the high-population international markets I pointed out in my opening arguments, and nurturing its media initiatives.
Investors' short-term worries disguise Starbucks' long-term strengths. The company generates plenty of cash to fuel its expansion. It consistently delivers double-digit increases in sales and earnings, and an expected 22% increase in profits for the next five years is hardly any reason for investors to complain. These kinds of increases often command premium valuations for such strong performers, and Starbucks is a tried-and-true company, unlike more recent high-valuation prospects such as Hansen Natural
Although Starbucks' share price has increased by 40% in the last year, shares have shown some recent weakness, dropping 7% in the last six months. (Chuck's certainly not alone in his negative outlook.) However, moments of market pessimism can become investing opportunities, especially with stocks that retain their fundamental strengths and remain poised for continuing growth.
Chuck's right: All companies' growth will eventually slow. But I believe Starbucks won't lose its caffeine-fueled kick for years to come.
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