Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) entered 2015 with immense momentum, following its most successful holiday period in the company's 43-year history. This, coupled with record earnings growth in its fiscal 2015 first-quarter, helped push the stock to a new all-time high of $91.99 per share this month. The Street now has a price target of $103.53 for shares of Starbucks.
But can Starbucks stock actually hit the coveted $100 mark before the end of the year? Let's take a closer look at what the coffee retailer's latest earnings tell us.
Headed for world domination
Starbucks is getting it right in a big way these days. The coffee giant delivered record earnings-per-share of $0.80 in the first-quarter, up 16% from the same period a year ago. Revenue was also a win for the company, with Starbucks reporting Q1 revenue of $4.8 billion, up 13%.
Analysts, on average, now expect Starbucks revenue to rise more than 16% year-over-year to $19.09 billion in 2015. Meanwhile, the company's earnings are expected to grow 16.80% in 2015 to $3.13 per share, followed by nearly 18% growth in 2016. These estimates suggest Starbucks' growth projection this year should outpace both the industry average as well as the S&P 500.
Looking beyond the numbers, there are also a handful of catalysts that could push the stock higher from here. For starters, Starbucks' mobile platform gives it a significant edge over competitors in the space. More than 13 million consumers use Starbucks' mobile app in the U.S. alone today. That translates into over 7 million mobile transactions in its stores each week -- more than any other brick-and-mortar retailer in the market today.
As Starbucks' CEO, Howard Schultz emphasized on the company's recent earnings call, its mobile strategy not only creates a better experience for Starbucks customers, but it also lowers the traditional cost of customer acquisition for Starbucks. Additionally, the coffee retailer plans to launch its new Mobile Order & Pay technology in over 600 stores in the Pacific Northwest in the months ahead, followed by a national rollout later this year. Ultimately, this will make it faster and easier for customers to place orders on their smartphones for in-store pickup.
Aside from its increasingly lucrative mobile platform, Starbucks is also unlocking new growth opportunities abroad. The company is confident that it can grow to nearly $30 billion in revenue over the next five-years. That seems ambitious until you factor in the fact that Starbucks currently serves 54 million customers each week across 15 countries.
In addition to its already massive scale, the java giant is in the process of aggressively expanding its reach in China and the Asia Pacific region. In fact, Starbucks' growing number of stores in this region has contributed 17 straight quarters of revenue growth in excess of 20%. I mention this because China is now Starbucks fastest-growing market and one that should play a significant role in the company's growth story going forward.
Given these catalysts and the company's ability to generate loads of cash, it is certainly possible that Starbucks stock could reach $100 a share in 2015. Still, the bigger takeaway for long-term investors is that Starbucks is arguably one of the best retail plays to own today.
For 2015 and beyond, shareholders can sleep well at night knowing Starbucks will continue to create value through new growth initiatives, dividends, and share buybacks for many years to come.