Sometimes Wall Street can really be comical.
For the last couple of years, coffee powerhouse Starbucks
I always thought this warning was a sign of management doing the right thing. The more common approach is to simply announce your numbers each month and perhaps throw in the standard, "we had a great month," comment. Then at the close of the quarter, trumpet how great the quarter was and how wonderful the business is, and maybe raise guidance.
But the last two months have been different for the king of coffee. For two months, Starbucks has had rather pedestrian high-single digit increases, including this month's increase of 7%. According to some coverage I've seen, analysts were expecting an 8.7% increase, and 7% has them disappointed!
My question is, how could analysts expect more than what the company was promising? The company had consistently communicated its targets and had communicated caution when the numbers were better than expected. You've got me. Did the analysts assume that the people who run the business day-to-day just didn't really know the dynamics of the situation? After all, some members of this management team have been calling the shots at Starbucks only since the '80s. What could they really know? A great deal, it appears.
It seems like a silly assumption, but there aren't many explanations here and probably none that will seem logical. In the game to own the hottest stock and beat the market, sometimes we go to absurd extremes. What makes it sillier is that with double-digit growth in the same month last year, the year-over-year comparison was a tough one to begin with. Yet Starbucks still delivered growth at the high end of its own estimates.
So Starbucks may have traded down the following day, and folks may have talked about how the numbers were soft for a few days and how Starbucks needs to pick up the slack. But here's a tip: Don't waste your time listening to this stuff. These numbers are fine -- heck, they're actually quite impressive. Instead, take advantage of an opportunity that may present itself in the coming months as folks focus on the nonexistent growth woes at Starbucks.
Not so long ago, there was a great competitor by the name of Krispy Kreme
Check out our interview with Starbucks' CEO designate, Jim Donald, in the first of a multipart series: Starbucks' Success.
Fool contributor Nathan Parmelee owns shares in Starbucks but none of the other companies mentioned. After writing this article, he headed to his corner Starbucks to enjoy a caramel macchiato.