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Jul 28, 2020

Starbucks says sales slump partially offset by larger orders

A customer wearing a protective mask orders outside of a Starbucks coffee shop in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Monday, April 27, 2020. Starbucks Corp. is scheduled to release earnings figures on April 28.

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Starbucks Corp. reported a deep sales decline in its latest quarter, with consumers buying more per order, but visiting much less frequently.

Global same-store sales — a key gauge of restaurant performance — fell 40 per cent in the quarter that went through June. That’s largely in line with the estimate from Consensus Metrix. Revenue, meanwhile, was US$4.2 billion, beating analysts’ average projection.

Starbucks, like its restaurant peers around the globe, has been trying to adapt to a new normal where diners prefer to order delivery and hardly anyone pops in for a latte on the way to work or school. The coffee seller this summer accelerated the rollout of its “pickup” store concept, with smaller-format locations that don’t have customer seating, but with fewer drive-thrus and less delivery penetration than some rivals, the chain has a lot of work to do to draw in customers in the new era of consumer caution.

In China, a key market for Starbucks that is farther along in its recovery from COVID-19, comparable store sales declined 19 per cent in the quarter. In the U.S., same-store sales were down 40 per cent. But while overall transactions are down, when customers do treat themselves to Starbucks, they’re spending more. Average ticket — or the total bill — was up 23 per cent in the quarter globally.

Starbucks shares rose in late trading.