Starbucks plans greater marketing investment around innovations

Starbucks says it has a plan to reverse a disappointing same-store sales trend.


Same-store sales (stores that have been open at least a year, or comp sales as the industry calls it) increased by only 2 percent during Starbucks fiscal first quarter, which ended Dec. 31. That’s down from a 3 percent increase the same quarter a year before, and down from 9 percent the year before that.

Investors and analysts keep a close eye on comp sales, which Starbucks kept at or above 5 percent until recent years. In 2016, former CEO Howard Schultz called the same-store sales growth slowdown an anomaly and blamed it on that year’s elections.

“Our focus is getting the U.S. business turned back to what we expect,” Starbucks Chief Financial Officer Scott Maw told investors, according to a Factset transcript. “Sometimes we lose focus of those long-term growth drivers that make Starbucks a pretty unique long-term investment opportunity.”

Maw went over ways Starbucks plans to stabilize and drive growth in the U.S., including increased personalization, more innovation and better operational execution in stores.

One thing Starbucks has done in recent weeks was to change the way employees are used in stores at different times, not just around peak times, which they adjusted after the problems with mobile ordering bottleneck.

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