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Starbucks Beats Estimates; Sees 'Material' Impact From Coronavirus Closures in China

Starbucks fiscal first-quarter net income rose 21% on 7% higher revenue. Due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, it has temporarily closed more than half its stores there.
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Starbucks  (SBUX) , the Seattle coffee-bar giant, reported fiscal first-quarter net income rose 21% on 7% higher revenue. 

It said that due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, it has temporarily closed more than half its stores there. It expects a material impact on its fiscal-second-quarter and full-year results from the disruption but can't yet quantify that effect.

For the quarter ended Dec. 29, Starbucks earned 74 cents a share compared with 61 cents in the year-earlier quarter. The latest adjusted earnings were 79 cents a share. 

Revenue reached $7.1 billion from $6.63 billion. The latest figure reflected net-revenue growth of 9% in the Americas and 4% internationally.

A survey of analysts by FactSet produced consensus estimates of profit of 75 cents a share, or an adjusted 76 cents, on revenue of $7.11 billion.

Same-store sales in Q1 were up 5%, including rises of 6% in the Americas and 1% internationally. The FactSet survey was looking for 4.4% overall. 

The operating-profit margin at Starbucks widened 1.9 percentage points to 17.2%.

Shares fell 89 cents, or 1%, to $87.71 in after-hours trading.

The company affirmed its outlook for fiscal 2020, excluding the potential impact from China.

At last check Starbucks shares were trading 1% lower. The stock closed the regular session on Tuesday little changed at $88.60.

China Disruption

Perhaps the most closely watched matter is the company's China business, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

Starbucks said in a statement that it continues "to monitor and modify the operating hours of all of our stores in the [China] market in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus. This is expected to be temporary. 

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"Given the dynamic nature of these circumstances, the duration of business disruption, reduced customer traffic and related financial impact cannot be reasonably estimated at this time but are expected to materially affect our International segment and consolidated results for the second quarter and full year of fiscal 2020. 

"The company will update its guidance for fiscal 2020 when we can reasonably estimate the impact of the coronavirus."

Fiscal-first-quarter comparable sales in China rose 3%. At the end of the fiscal first quarter, Starbucks operated nearly 4,300 stores in the country, up 16% from a year earlier.

In a note to investors on Monday, Guggenheim Securities analyst Matthew DiFrisco had said that Starbucks's growth goals in China were at risk because of the spreading  coronavirus.

Reuters had reported that Starbucks closed all shops and suspended delivery services in China's Hubei Province for the Lunar New Year holiday. The virus, which has killed more than 100 people in China, originated in Hubei's capital city, Wuhan.

"We remain optimistic and committed to the long-term opportunity in China," Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. 

Stores, Shares, Environmental Goals

At the end of the fiscal first quarter, Starbucks operated almost 31,800 stores, up 6% from a year earlier. 

A year ago Starbucks stock touched its 52-week low above $66. It's up by a third since then. In late July it touched its 52-week high just below $100 and is down 12% since then.

Early in January Barclays analysts lifted their Starbucks rating to overweight from equal weight and the firm's target price to $107 from $90.

Overall, Bloomberg reports that of the analysts who follow the stock, 15 post buy ratings and 17 rank Starbucks hold. One firm has a sell rating on SBUX.

Starbucks recently initiated an ambitious environmental program. CEO Johnson said the company would become resource positive -- aspiring to give to the planet more than it takes.

The data-driven effort means moving toward targets including "a more environmentally friendly menu"; "shifting from single-use to reusable packaging"; investing in "regenerative agricultural practices"; finding better ways to manage waste and developing more eco-friendly stores and operations.

Starbucks is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club