Why Starbucks Earnings Failed to Please Investors

Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) reported fiscal second quarter 2018 results after markets closed Thursday. For the quarter, the coffee roasting and restaurant company posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.53 on revenues of $6.03 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.45 on revenues of $5.29 billion. Fourth-quarter results compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $0.53 and $5.93 billion in revenues.

U.S. same-store sales rose 2% and U.S. average ticket rose 3% while transactions were flat. China, Asia-Pacific (CAP) same-store sales rose 3% driven by a 4% increase in transactions in China.

Global same-store sales are expected to rise by 1.8% including a rise of 2.3% in CAP and a 1.8% hike in the United States. The disappointment here is sales in China that slipped from 7% same-store sales growth in the first quarter

Company CEO Kevin Johnson said:

Starbucks Q2 of fiscal 2018 represented another quarter of record financial results, highlighted by accelerating momentum across our Americas business – particularly in the U.S., continued strong performance in China and our strongest comp growth in Japan in five quarters. At the same time we made measurable progress against each of the strategic initiatives that position Starbucks to continue delivering best-in-class operating and financial results long into the future.

CFO Scott Maw added:

We have a clear set of actions underway to improve profitability through a combination of comp and beverage growth and savings across [cost of goods sold], waste and labor as we move through the back half of the year. We are continuing to invest in our business – strategically and with a long game mentality – while at the same time taking decisive near-term action to maximize our brand portfolio and ensure that we continue to deliver outsized returns to our shareholders in the quarters and years ahead.

The company said it continues to expect 3% to 5% global same-store sales growth even though it reported first-half growth was just 2%. Starbucks also expects consolidated revenue growth in the high single digits, excluding certain favorable items. Adjusted EPS is forecast in the range of $2.48 to $2.53 for the fiscal year.

Analysts are expecting Starbucks to post third-quarter EPS of $0.66 and revenues of $6.37 billion. For the full year, analysts are looking for EPS of $2.49 and revenues of $24.82 billion.

Same-store sales growth is close to what analysts expected, but not as hoped for, especially in China. The company is banking on significant growth in the second half of the fiscal year and that’s also a caution sign.

Starbucks’ shares traded down about 2.3% in after-hours trading at $58.00 in a 52-week range of $52.58 to $64.87. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock was $63.85 before today’s report.