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News in a Number: Coffee Sales Jitter but Hope Remains

2 min read
Apr 30, 2020

11

The last time Starbucks saw a decrease in same-store sales was 11 years ago.

Not surprisingly, Starbucks’ results for this past quarter weren’t impressive. Just as for the economy as a whole, things haven’t been this gloomy since 2009.

Around 50% of Starbucks' locations are closed in the US. The coffee giant managed a profit of $328 million, but revenue was down 5% from this time last year.

Don’t delete your Starbucks app just yet, though. Same-store sales and revenue don’t tell the whole story. The fact that Starbucks is selling anything at all is thanks to investments they made well before this crisis. Drive-thrus, mobile ordering, and even pickup-only stores have all been added to the ways you can get your tall latte (extra hot, almond milk).

Source: Starbucks

The company should also be applauded for how it has treated its employees. The transition had some rough spots, but Starbucks has avoided mass layoffs and furlough programs. It has even found a way to offer benefits such as paying some workers to quarantine and extra pay for those who are going into work.

Investors seem to have noticed these reasons for optimism. In normal times, such results would have sent the share price tumbling. But Starbucks saw only a small drop, around 1%, in their stock price.

This does not mean that every business that made smart investments will see rewards for that in times of crisis. Many will be less lucky during the pandemic, even if they have made excellent business decisions leading up to it. That said, taking care of employees and having a compelling vision for the future doesn’t hurt, as Starbucks’ current situation shows.