Here are the facts: Starbucks delivered a same-store sales increase of 7% in January. Net revenues increased 23%, hardly a slacker figure. The stock's tumbling today, though, as some take this news as a "miss" -- based largely on the fact that analysts had been expecting a higher figure.
Well, a few months ago I vowed on the Fool's Starbucks discussion board that I would indeed remember the fact that Starbucks management has encouraged people to remember that its long-term growth target for same-store sales is 3% to 7%. So here I am to say that, and to voice my opinion that investors are overreacting today.
True, I do find it a bit odd that gift card usage didn't boost January's figure a little more. When I reviewed December's same-store sales at Starbucks, I anticipated that a little of that gift-card love might be forthcoming, and that seems not to have delivered quite the bump that one might have expected.
On the other hand, this year Starbucks does face extremely difficult comparisons to last year. Last January, same-store sales increased a whopping 12%. And while investors have become used to that kind of double-digit pampering, management repeatedly issued the reminder last year that that sort of heated same-store growth was "unsustainable."
There are many naysayers who will question whether Starbucks' growth is becoming stunted, despite a recent quarter that was perfectly fine. Our discussion board is awash with posts pertaining to our recent interview with CEO designate Jim Donald on The Motley Fool Radio Show on NPR; of particular interest to Fools in that discussion was whether McDonalds'
Meanwhile, over the course of the last few months, I have received some email from readers who doubt that international sales growth will enjoy the same levels as domestic sales over recent years, in particular in markets like France and Germany. It's definitely a question to ponder, given cultural differences in various countries and regions, but, then again, many people were awfully negative about Starbucks' growth here in the States several years ago.
Today may be a good buying opportunity for those who balked at the stocks' recent highs, especially considering the news hardly seems any reason for alarm given Starbucks' own guidance. The stock hasn't been this low since October, so it may very well be a time to consider capitalizing on the disappointment of others, given Starbucks' strengths for the long term. At any rate, for those who already hold Starbucks, it seems a poor time to lose the faith.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.