Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is set to report its fiscal year 2015 first-quarter results after the bell Thursday. It could be difficult for Starbucks to over-deliver in this quarter because of Wall Street's lofty expectations for the java giant. Nevertheless, the company has been firing on all cylinders lately and investors are hoping for yet another strong quarter. Let's take a closer look at what analysts are expecting in the period and whether Starbucks will impress.
A tall order
Starbucks delivered earnings that were slightly above or in line with Wall Street's projections in each of the past four quarters. While this was music to shareholders' ears, it also set a high bar for the company heading into the new year. For the first fiscal quarter of 2015, analysts expect earnings of $0.80 per share, up from earnings per share of $0.71 in the year-ago period. Additionally, the Street is looking for revenue growth of more than 13% to $4.80 billion in the quarter.
These expectations are certainly optimistic, but they are also in the mid-range of the company's projections for the quarter. Starbucks said it expects to generate a non-GAAP profit in the range of $0.79-$0.81 per share in the first quarter. Moreover, the specialty coffee retailer expects an acquisition-related gain of between $0.43 and $0.49 per share in Q1 related to the planned purchase of Starbucks Japan.
Starbucks announced last year that it would acquire the remaining 60% share of Starbucks Coffee Japan that it didn't already own. This is a smart move for Starbucks because it gives the company full control over growth opportunities in Japan, which is currently Starbucks' second largest market in terms of retail store sales. It creates a platform for Starbucks to introduce its other strong brands such as Teavana in the Japanese market. Over time, this should create a lucrative growth channel for the company in an important market abroad.
In addition to being well-positioned for international growth, Starbucks also has plenty of growth opportunities in the U.S. The company is successfully diversifying its revenue channels with product platforms such as VIA instant coffee and K-cups, as well as consumer packaged goods products that it sells in grocery stores around the country. On top of this, Starbucks has nurtured and grown stand-alone brands such as Teavana, La Boulange, and Evolution Fresh -- all of which contribute significant cash generation for the coffee giant.
For these reasons, Starbucks shouldn't disappoint when it reports earnings Thursday. In fact, with more than 21,400 company-owned and licensed stores worldwide today and a fast-growing consumer packaged goods business, there's a good chance that Starbucks will deliver another record year in fiscal year 2015.