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Jan 26, 2021

Starbucks’s China sales accelerate, countering weakness at home

Shane Obata discusses Starbucks

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Starbucks Corp.’s rebound in China continues to gain traction, even as its key home market and other international segments lag.

Global same-store sales, a key gauge of restaurant success, fell 5 per cent in the fiscal first quarter. That’s worse than the estimated decline of 4.2 per cent compiled by Consensus Metrix. A 5 per cent drop in the U.S. was just ahead of estimates, while a 5 per cent gain in China beat expectations.

The results show the company is facing an uneven road back following the deep impact of the global pandemic. Despite the continued weakness in many markets, same-store sales across the board are not as weak as in the previous quarter, suggesting it’s past the worst.

The company reported fewer transactions overall, but customers spent higher amounts, continuing a trend established earlier in the pandemic. Revenue fell 5 per cent from the prior year due to the impact of COVID-19, Starbucks said.

The U.S. and China are the company’s two largest markets, together making up 61 per cent of its global portfolio, with 15,340 and 4,863 stores, respectively, it said. Starbucks opened 278 net new stores in the quarter.