Starbucks reduced its earnings forecast for 2020 on Wednesday but said it was still “firing on all cylinders” operationally as it seeks double-digit long-term growth.
In a presentation at a Goldman Sachs conference, the coffee chain said it expects earnings per share next year to be below its “ongoing growth model of 10%.” Starbucks previously said at its investor day in December that it expected growth of at least 13% in 2020.
CFO Pat Grismer said the change was due to two one-time items — accelerated share repurchases and tax benefits — that boosted 2019 earnings. Additionally, Starbucks completed a $2 billion share repurchase program in June, pulling it ahead of the 2020 fiscal year.
On Wall Street, which had been anticipating 10.6% earnings growth in 2020, Starbucks shares fell more than 3% in premarket trading on Wednesday — the biggest intraday decline in seven months. But the stock rallied in later trading, reaching $95.56 for a loss of 1.25%.
“I want to reinforce that our growth-at-scale agenda is delivering against our expectations,” Grismer said. “I would say that we’re firing on all cylinders from an operating performance perspective with the focus and discipline necessary to drive growth at scale for a company like Starbucks and our long-term double-digit EPS growth model is fully intact.”
According to CNBC, investors might have been surprised by the reduced 2020 guidance after Starbucks crushed third-quarter earnings estimates and raised its 2019 outlook in July.
“While calling out EPS adjustments like this can raise questions among investors, I’m encouraged that the core operating business targets (revenue growth 7%-9%, operating income 8%-10%) are intact, and still see several paths to at least high-single-digit EPS growth in FY20,” Morningstar analyst RJ Hottovy said.
Starbucks reiterated its guidance for 2019, which calls for earnings per share in the range of $2.80 to $2.82. At the midpoint, that would be up 16% from 2018.
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