Starbucks Corporation Earnings In Line, Guidance Weak

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Starbucks released its latest earnings report after closing bell tonight, posting adjusted earnings of 80 cents per share, a 16% year over year improvement, on $4.8 billion in revenue, a 13% year over year increase. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 80 cents per share on $4.8 billion in revenue for the first fiscal quarter of 2015.

GAAP earnings per share were $1.30. Shares of Starbucks rose by as much as 3% after tonight’s earnings report was released.

Starbucks sees comparable store sales rise

The coffee chain giant reported a 5% increase in same store sales, compared to Wall Street’s estimate of a 4.8% increase in the metric. Starbucks also noted a 2% increase in foot traffic in its stores.

In the Americas, comparable sales rose 5%, including a 2% increase in traffic. Comparable sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa improved 4%, driven by a 3% traffic increase. In the China / Asia Pacific region, comparable sales increased 8%, and it cited higher traffic as the only driver for that increase.

Other key metrics from Starbucks’ earnings report

Starbucks saw its non-GAAP operating income rise 18% year over year to $934.8 million. The coffee chain’s non-GAAP operating margin rose 80 basis points to 19.5%. The number of comparable store customer transactions rose by almost 9 million in the U.S. and almost 12 million globally.

During the quarter, Starbucks opened 512 net new stores, including its first Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room.  The company also saw a new record in dollars loaded onto Starbucks Cards, which hit $1.6 billion during the quarter, achieving a 17% year over year growth rate. One out of seven Americans received a Starbucks gift card during the holiday season, compared to one out of eight in the previous year.

Starbucks provides guidance

For the full 2015 fiscal year, Starbucks management guided for between $3.09 and $3.13 per share. That’s on the low side, as Wall Street was projecting $3.13 per share for the full year. For the current quarter, management expects to see earnings per share of between 64 cents and 65 cents. That’s much weaker than the consensus estimate of 68 cents per share.

Starbucks expects revenue to grow by between 16% and 18% for the full year and global comparable store sales to grow in the mid-single digits.

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