With a relatively pricey stock that is up more than 20% over the past three months and has almost doubled over the past year, it is vital that Starbucks
With a little help from an extra week in this year's quarter, Starbucks' fourth-quarter profit rose 49% to $103 million, or $0.25 per share, as net revenues increased 34% to $1.5 billion. On a comparable 13-week basis, the company said that net revenues would have climbed 25%, with the extra week adding $0.03 per share to earnings.
The coffee retailer saw results improve as the introduction of automated espresso machines helped reduce customer wait times. In addition, the company is having increasing success with complementary non-coffee items such as sandwiches and desserts.
But is it time to sell?
Starbucks remains one of my favorite companies with a strong brand and a highly relevant business. And I'm not particularly worried about how much Starbucks the world can take. I was in Las Vegas last week for SEMA Show (the premier trade show of the year for aftermarket car parts manufacturers); just take a walk up the Strip, and it seems as though just about every mid-level casino has a Starbucks -- including MGM Mirage's
That said, the real question here is value.
For fiscal 2005, the company forecast revenue growth of approximately 20%, or about $6.24 billion, adjusted for the gain from the extra week in fiscal 2004. Starbucks also expects earnings to rise from $0.92 per share in fiscal 2004 (adjusted for the $0.03 per share gain from the extra week) to between $1.12 and $1.15 per share. At just under $55, that leaves the stock trading around a hefty 48 times fiscal 2005 earnings.
I think that Starbucks has a great business and that it should be able to absorb the price hikes the company announced in September (see Starbucks Goes to 11). But like eBay
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Fool contributor Jeff Hwang owns shares of Starbucks and eBay.