Starbucks (SBUX) caught some buy action a couple weeks after its CEO Howard Schultz suggested that the company was already seeing some slight improvement in business. But there’s not much to cheer about yet. In its quarterly earnings report, Schultz says: “Despite a global economic environment which shows no immediate signs of improvement, the steps we took in FY08 position us to deliver EPS growth in FY09… We appear to be more resilient than many other premium brands. And while we cannot call isolated signs of improving sales a trend, we are encouraged by our ability to drive increased traffic at a relatively low cost, as we did on Election Day.”
For optimists, that’s not much to hang on. Otherwise, the numbers were basically on the low-end of expectations: Revenue was $2.5 billion in the quarter vs. $2.58 billion consensus, and adjusted EPS of $.10 was shy of the street’s $.13. Although revenue was up slightly from last year, the real story was in same-store sales, which were down 8%.
Meanwhile, for 2009, the company says it’s hoping for a net decrease to its US footprint of 20 stores, continuing a plan to scale back and shore up its locations.
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