SBUX - Starbucks Corporation

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real-time price. Currency in USD
+1.33 (+1.49%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT

90.75 0.00 (0.00%)
After hours: 4:36PM EDT

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Previous close89.42
Bid90.45 x 1800
Ask90.76 x 800
Day's range89.65 - 91.46
52-week range54.10 - 99.72
Avg. volume7,192,759
Market cap108.628B
Beta (3Y monthly)0.52
PE ratio (TTM)32.45
EPS (TTM)2.80
Earnings date30 Oct. 2019
Forward dividend & yield1.44 (1.58%)
Ex-dividend date2019-08-07
1y target est96.33
Trade prices are not sourced from all markets
  • Financial Times

    Dawi aims to become Egypt’s medical ‘Starbucks of clinics’ chain

    “We brainstormed and talked to doctors, and it started growing on me that this was a really interesting idea to which I could bring my experience in brand building and operations management,” says Ms Habib, co-founder and chief executive of Dawi Clinics. Sitting in the seventh and latest branch of Dawi to open in Cairo in the densely-populated district of Shobra, Ms Habib explains that within months of the conversation with Mr Iskander, she plunged into preparations for an affordable healthcare company aimed at middle class families. The pair then teamed up with Mairose Doss, a doctor and Dawi’s third co-founder, and raised an undisclosed amount from private investors in their first round of funding.

  • Apple Takes on EU’s Vestager in Record $14 Billion Tax Fight

    Apple Takes on EU’s Vestager in Record $14 Billion Tax Fight

    (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. fights the world’s biggest tax case in a quiet courtroom this week, trying to rein in the European Union’s powerful antitrust chief ahead of a potential new crackdown on internet giants.The iPhone maker can tell the EU General Court in Luxembourg that it’s the world’s biggest taxpayer. But that’s not enough for EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager who said in a 2016 ruling that Apple’s tax deals with Ireland allowed the company to pay far less than other businesses. The court must now weigh whether regulators were right to levy a record 13 billion-euro ($14.4 billion) tax bill.Apple’s haggling over tax comes after its market valuation hit $1.02 trillion last week on the back of a new aggressive pricing strategy that may stoke demand for some smartphones and watches. The company’s huge revenue -- and those of other technology firms -- have attracted close scrutiny in Europe, focusing on complicated company structures for transferring profits generated from intellectual property.A court ruling, likely to take months, could empower or halt Vestager’s tax probes, which are now centering on fiscal deals done by Inc. and Alphabet Inc. She’s also been tasked with coming up with a “fair European tax” by the end of 2020 if global efforts to reform digital taxation don’t make progress.“Politically, this will have very big consequences,” said Sven Giegold, a Green member of the European Parliament. “If Apple wins this case, the calls for tax harmonization in Europe will take on a different dynamic, you can count on that.”Vestager showed her determination to fight the tax cases to the end by opening new probes into 39 companies’ tax deals with Belgium on Monday. The move addresses criticism by the same court handling the Apple challenge. A February judgment threw out her 2016 order for them to pay back about 800 million euros.At the same time she’s pushing for “fair international tax rules so that digitization doesn’t allow companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax,” according to a speech to German ambassadors last month. She urged them to use “our influence to build an international environment that helps us reach our goals” in talks on a new global agreement to tax technology firms.Apple’s fury at its 2016 EU order saw Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook blasting the EU move as “total political crap.” The company’s legal challenge claims the EU wrongly targeted profits that should be taxed in the U.S. and “retroactively changed the rules” on how global authorities calculate what’s owed to them.The U.S. Treasury weighed in too, saying the EU was making itself a “supra-national tax authority” that could threaten global tax reform efforts. President Donald Trump hasn’t been silent either, saying Vestager “hates the United States” because “she’s suing all our companies.”“There is a lot at stake given the high-profile nature of the case, as well as the concerns that have been raised from the U.S. Treasury that the investigations risk undermining the international tax system,” said Nicole Robins, a partner at economics consultancy Oxera in Brussels.Apple declined to comment ahead of the hearing, referring to previous statements. The European Commission also declined to comment. Ireland said it “profoundly” disagreed with the EU’s findings.Richard Murphy, a professor at London’s City University, said the EU’s case “is about making clear that no company should be beyond the geographic limits of tax law.”“Selective attempts to get round the law -- which is what tax avoidance is -- are unacceptable when companies seek the protection and support of that same law” in the rest of their business,” Murphy said.Vestager has also fined Google some $9 billion. She’s ordered Amazon to pay back taxes -- a mere 250 million euros -- and is probing Nike Inc.’s tax affairs and looking into Google’s taxation in Ireland.The first hints of how the Apple case may turn out will come from a pair of rulings scheduled for Sept. 24.The General Court will rule on whether the EU was right to demand unpaid taxes from Starbucks Corp. and a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV unit. Those judgments could set an important precedent on how far the EU can question tax decisions national governments make on how companies should be treated.“It’s very clear that the largest companies in the world -- the frightful five I call them -- are hardly paying taxes,” said Paul Tang, a socialist lawmaker at the European Parliament. “Cases like these, Amazon in Luxembourg or Apple in Ireland, started to build public and political pressure” for tax reform in Europe.The legal battles may go on for a few years more. The General Court rulings can be appealed once more to the EU’s highest tribunal, the EU Court of Justice. Meanwhile, Apple’s back taxes -- 14.3 billion euros including interest -- sit in an escrow account and can’t be paid to Ireland until the final legal challenges are exhausted.For Alex Cobham, chief executive of the Tax Justice Network campaign group, the issue is already in the past and “it’s not even the biggest tax scandal that Apple has” after reports on other structures it may use. Tax reforms under discussion “will ensure much closer alignment of taxable profits and the real economic activity” generated by them.The cases are: T-892/16, Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe v. Commission, T-778/16, Ireland v. Commission.(Updates with Vestager comment in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at;Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at, Peter ChapmanFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Starbucks (SBUX) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    Starbucks (SBUX) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    In the latest trading session, Starbucks (SBUX) closed at $90.48, marking a -1.72% move from the previous day.

  • The world’s most viral robot just praised Starbucks for closing its wage gap
    Yahoo Finance

    The world’s most viral robot just praised Starbucks for closing its wage gap

    Viral robot Sophia applauded Starbucks for the methods the company used to address the gender pay gap.

  • Wendy's Shares Fall for a Second Straight Day After Announcing Breakfast Launch

    Wendy's Shares Fall for a Second Straight Day After Announcing Breakfast Launch

    Shares of Wendy's (WEN) were down as much as 11% in intraday trading today, and closed down over 2% on Monday after the company announced they are ramping up spending on their breakfast line for a nationwide release sometime in 2020.

  • Wendy’s Stock: Why Does It Continue to Fall?
    Market Realist

    Wendy’s Stock: Why Does It Continue to Fall?

    A few analysts downgraded Wendy’s stock following the reduced outlook. Guggenheim and BTIG downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “buy.”

  • Financial Times

    Something stinks in supply-side economics

    Your article (“More than a third of foreign investment is multinationals dodging tax”, September 9 ) reports on an IMF and University of Copenhagen study finding that nearly 40 per cent of global foreign ...

  • Trump Assails North Carolina Democrat: Campaign Update

    Trump Assails North Carolina Democrat: Campaign Update

    (Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump urged voters in a North Carolina congressional district to elect Republican Dan Bishop to the House in a special election on Tuesday, declaring that the candidate’s Democratic challenger, Dan McCready, a former Marine, is part of the “America-hating left.”Trump spoke at the rally in Fayetteville on Monday, after Vice President Mike Pence crisscrossed the largely rural district earlier in the day to turn out votes for Bishop. The presence of both men in the state reflects Republican worries about the election; while Trump won the district easily in 2016, McCready came within about 900 votes of winning the House seat in 2018.The 2018 election was overturned due to alleged vote fraud by the campaign of McCready’s then-opponent, Mark Harris, forcing a new election this year.Trump told his rally audience they should vote against McCready because “he’s not going to protect your Second Amendment.” The president said McCready’s support for so-called “sanctuary cities” would “force cities and counties to release dangerous criminal aliens into your neighborhoods.”Matt Fried, a spokesman for the McCready campaign, said he “is the only candidate in this race who has defended this nation’s borders in the Marines, when he served in Iraq.” McCready opposes state legislation in North Carolina that would require sheriffs to detain undocumented immigrants at the request of federal immigration authorities, though Fried told Politifact that the Democrat doesn’t support “sanctuary cities.”Trump Says No Republican Primary Debate (3:10 p.m.)President Donald Trump said he doesn’t plan to debate Republicans running against him for the GOP nomination in 2020.“I don’t know them, I don’t know them,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday. “They’re all at less than 1%. I guess it’s a publicity stunt.”Republicans seeking the nomination include former U.S. Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, and syndicated talk show host and former one-term Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh.“I’m not looking to give them any credibility, they have no credibility,” Trump said. Several states have canceled their Republican presidential primaries in a move that would keep the challengers from getting any votes there. -- Josh WingroveOil Workers Want Trump to Say No to Biofuel (2:49 p.m.)Oil refinery workers and labor groups want President Donald Trump to know he has to woo voters from places other than Iowa.Workers in Ohio and Michigan will hold a rally Thursday to persuade Trump to reconsider plans to boost biofuel made in Iowa. Their message: You need our votes too.Trump is looking to temper criticism from Iowa and other politically important farm states over his decision to exempt oil companies from requirements that they use corn-based ethanol and soy-based diesel. Those waivers have prompted intense criticism from Republicans in Iowa and provided potent fodder to 2020 Democrats who are highlighting the issue in the state. In response to the outcry, Trump has promised to unveil “a giant package” of changes to benefit biofuel, and administration officials have developed plans to boost annual renewable fuel quotas.The issue divides two of Trump’s political constituencies -- agriculture and oil -- with electoral implications. After Trump promised to protect ethanol in 2016, Iowa helped elect him to the White House (even though the state went for Barack Obama in the previous two presidential elections). But refining interests opposed to Trump’s potential biofuel move hold greater sway in Rust Belt states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio that are also crucial to Trump’s re-election. -- Jennifer DlouhyWarren Backs Democratic Incumbent’s Challenger (11:49 a.m.)National Democrats typically close ranks behind the party’s incumbents, butElizabeth Warren is breaking with that practice.On Monday, the presidential candidate endorsed Jessica Cisneros, the liberal primary challenger to Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas, who has served since 2005.Cuellar is among the more conservative members of the Democratic caucus, voting in alignment with President Donald Trump’s position more often than all but a few of his party colleagues, according to FiveThirtyEight.The Cisneros campaign mocked Cuellar as “Trump’s favorite Democrat.” Cuellar’s district backed Hillary Clinton by 20 points in the 2016 election.“We told you the outside special interests were coming to take away local jobs. Elizabeth Warren and our opponent share an agenda that would” kill jobs in his region, Cuellar wrote on his campaign Twitter account. “I’m fighting back. Will you join me?”Warren also said she’s endorsing Marie Newman in her primary challenge against Representative Dan Lipinski of Illinois, a high target of liberal groups who is one of the few remaining Democrats in Congress to oppose abortion rights.-- Sahil KapurEx-Prosecutor Harris Releases Criminal Justice Plan (11:00 a.m.)Kamala Harris used her record as a prosecutor to style herself as uniquely suited to fix criminal justice inequities, releasing aplan Monday to overhaul the U.S. criminal justice system.The four segments of her plan are: ending mass incarceration, re-imagining law enforcement’s mission as one of service and accountability to communities, treating individuals “equitably and humanely” and protecting vulnerable people.More specifically, Harris proposes to end the war on drugs, legalize marijuana, nix mandatory minimum sentences, increase the use of clemency, bridge the disparity between crack and powder cocaine and stop using private prisons. Her plan would also refocus resources toward rehabilitation rather than incarceration.In a policy paper, the Harris campaign proposed to fix “decades of failed policies” that they said “have created an unjust, unequal and vastly expansive system that disproportionately harms communities of color and criminalizes individuals just because they are poor.”Harris has faced criticism of her record as a prosecutor in California, with some accusing her of using her power to secure and sustain convictions against people in dubious circumstances. But other Democrats view her prosecutorial past as a positive to her candidacy. -- Sahil KapurDNC Chair Doesn’t See a Third-Party Challenge (5:30 a.m.)Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said he appreciates former Starbucks Corp. Chairman Howard Schultz’s decision not to run for president in 2020 as an independent, and is confident that Tulsi Gabbard won’t mount a third-party challenge either.Gabbard, a Hawaii representative, has been critical of some of her rivals for the Democratic nomination but said in August she’s ruled out an independent run. Schultz, who’d been considering a 2020 run, told supporters in a letter posted on his website Friday that such a bid “is not how I can best serve our country at this time.”Some Democrats worry about a repeat of 2000, when Ralph Nader’s third-party bid siphoned off voters, arguably contributing to Al Gore’s defeat by George W. Bush. In 2016, some Democrats blamed Green Party candidate Jill Stein for swinging enough votes away from the party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton, in key states to allow Donald Trump to win.Perez said he doesn’t think Gabbard, who’s languishing in the polls and failed to qualify for Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate in Houston, will run as a third-party candidate “because she has said so” -- and that all Democrats know the importance of defeating Trump in 2020.“We understand that it’s our democracy as we know it that’s on the ballot,” Perez said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “All of our candidates understand the gravity of the moment, and they understand that whoever wins, they’re going to be supporting the Democrat.” -- Mark NiquetteCOMING UPTen candidates will face off in the third Democratic debate on Sept. 12 in Houston. It’ll be the first time Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren share a debate stage. Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Sanders and Andrew Yang will also participate.\--With assistance from Mark Niquette, Sahil Kapur, Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Josh Wingrove.To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Wayne in Washington at;Alyza Sebenius in Washington at asebenius@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at, Max Berley, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Starbucks CEO: Millennials driving changes to tech, coffee menu
    Yahoo Finance

    Starbucks CEO: Millennials driving changes to tech, coffee menu

    Millennial tastes are helping to influence changes at Starbucks, CEO Kevin Johnson told Yahoo Finance.

  • Motley Fool

    How to Invest in Fast-Food Stocks

    You can profit from investing in the high-growth, easy-to-understand fast-food industry.

  • America Is Eating Out Like Never Before, but Not Everyone's a Winner
    Motley Fool

    America Is Eating Out Like Never Before, but Not Everyone's a Winner

    Some trends are changing, but one isn’t: The kitchen is getting used less.

  • How tech-savvy Kevin Johnson is creating 'the next generation' of Starbucks
    Yahoo Finance

    How tech-savvy Kevin Johnson is creating 'the next generation' of Starbucks

    Starbucks' CEO is transforming the pace of innovation at the coffee giant, thanks to his deep technology background.

  • Financial Times

    Corporate America is over-caffeinated 

    When Barack Obama was president of the US, he used to call Starbucks founder and former chief executive, Howard Schultz, for a read on the American consumer. Last week, Starbucks told us something important and disturbing. The company’s stock took a dive after it signalled, during a presentation at a Goldman Sachs retail conference, that its recent 10 per cent rate of profit expansion wouldn’t carry into next year.

  • Bennet Gets Backing From Former Contender Hart: Campaign Update

    Bennet Gets Backing From Former Contender Hart: Campaign Update

    (Bloomberg) -- In 1984, the forward-looking Colorado Senator Gary Hart shocked Democratic politics by winning a surprise victory in the New Hampshire presidential primary. Now another senator from Colorado, Michael Bennet, is hoping his predecessor’s endorsement can help him pull off a similar upset.Hart will campaign with Bennet at three stops in New Hampshire on Saturday, the campaign said.“A number of years ago, the voters of New Hampshire provided an opportunity for a young Colorado senator to build a strong national candidacy,” Hart said in a statement. “They have the chance now to do it again. Michael Bennet has the intelligence, experience, and judgment to put our nation back on track at home and abroad.”The Hart political story didn’t have a happy ending. After losing the 1984 nomination to Walter Mondale, Hart ran again for the 1988 nomination. While denying rumors of womanizing — and challenging reporters to follow him around — he withdrew from the race in May 1987 following allegations of an affair with Donna Rice. A tabloid photo emerged of Hart with Rice sitting on his lap before a cruise on a yacht called the Monkey Business.Four States May Cut Primaries to Help Trump (3:22 p.m.)Republicans in four states are preparing to cancel their presidential primaries next year, insulating President Donald Trump from primary challenges as he tries to rally Republicans in the 2020 election.State parties in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas are expected to finalize the cancellations as soon as this weekend, Politico reports. And while there’s a history of parties canceling primaries when an incumbent is running for re-election, Trump’s GOP challengers are crying foul.“Remember all the times back in 2016 when Donald Trump accused the Democrats of ‘rigging’ the system to make sure Hillary got the nomination? I do,” tweeted former Representative Joe Walsh, who’s mounting a primary bid against Trump. “Well lookie here ... the lying hypocrite is trying to ‘rig’ the system in 2020.”Trump appears in no danger of losing the nomination anyway. Polls show he remains exceptionally popular among Republicans, with an average approval rating above 80%. But primary challenges can end up hurting incumbents in the general election: President George H.W. Bush lost re-election in 1992 after GOP rival Pat Buchanan had a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary and got a speaking slot at the party’s convention in Houston. -- Gregory KorteBiden Wants Senate to Pass Women Violence Act (3:02 p.m.)Joe Biden called on Senate Republicans to pass a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act more than five months after the House passed its own version.The act “must be reauthorized,” the Democratic presidential front-runner told supporters in Laconia, New Hampshire, but Republicans including President Donald Trump are “holding it up.”Biden said he brought up the act, which he said he “wrote with my own hand,” because the 25th anniversary of its signing is next week. It became law as part of the 1994 crime bill, which he and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California shepherded through when he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.He’s faced criticism from other Democratic candidates and activists for anti-crime measures that they argue contributed to mass incarceration and especially poor treatment of minorities who were accused of crimes. Bringing up the parts of the bill that remain popular with Democrats, like the Violence Against Women Act and the assault weapons ban, is a way for Biden to preemptively blunt criticism about other pieces of the bill. -- Jennifer EpsteinArizona GOP Chief Wants to Stop Candidate ‘Dead’ (11:28 a.m.)The chairwoman of the Republican Party in Arizona is trying to raise money by saying the GOP is going to stop pro-gun-control Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly “dead in his tracks.”The stark wording from Arizona GOP chairman Kelli Ward was directed at former astronaut Kelly, whose wife, former Representative Gabby Giffords, was shot in the head and severely wounded in a mass shooting in 2011 while meeting with constituents. Six people were killed in the attack and more than a dozen others were wounded.The email cites Kelly’s statement in a 2015 CNN interview that “where there are more guns, people are less safe.”“Support the Republican Party of Arizona today and, together, we’ll stop gun-grabber Mark Kelly dead in his tracks,” Ward said.Ward followed up with tweets complaining about coverage of the email.“I don’t wish harm on Mr. Kelly. We disagree politically on the Constitution and the 2a,” she wrote on Twitter.Kelly campaign spokesman Jacob Peters criticized Ward, saying, “This dangerous rhetoric has absolutely no place in Arizona and is what’s wrong with our politics.”Ward has closely aligned herself with President Donald Trump and has a history of controversial statements. Kelly is running against Senator Martha McSally next year in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. McSally was appointed to the seat, long held by the late John McCain, after losing to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the 2018 Senate contest. -- Steven DennisStarbucks’ Schultz Suspends Presidential Effort (6:52 a.m.)Starbucks Corp.’s Chairman Emeritus Howard Schultz is suspending his flirtation with running as an independent for president in 2020.“My belief in the need to reform our two-party system has not wavered, but I have concluded that an independent campaign for the White House is not how I can best serve our country at this time,” Schultz said in a letter to supporters posted on his website Friday. The letter was reported earlier by Axios.Schultz, who put his exploratory presidential bid on hold in June after a series of back surgeries and told supporters would be in touch about his plans after Labor Day, said he will spend the election cycle and the roughly $100 million he intended to use to finance his campaign “supporting bold and creative initiatives to transform our broken system and address the disparity of opportunity that plagues our nation.”A former long-time Democrat estimated to be worth $5.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Schultz positioned himself as a “centrist independent” opposing proposals from leading Democratic presidential hopefuls including Medicare for All and universal free public college. But he concluded not enough voters are willing to back an independent because they fear that alternative may end up being a spoiler.“There is considerable concern that four more years of a Trump administration pose a graver threat to our democracy than four more years of political dysfunction,” Schultz wrote. “I agree, but I’m also concerned that far-left policy ideas being advanced by several Democratic candidates will further alienate voters who believe those ideas will inflict more economic harm than good. The nomination of a far-left Democratic candidate could result in more votes for Trump -- unless a moderate independent is also on the ballot.” -- Caitlin WebberCOMING UPJoe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, along with most of the other Democratic candidates, are expected to attend the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention in Manchester on Saturday, Sept. 7.Ten candidates will face off in the third Democratic debate on Sept. 12 in Houston. It will be the first time Biden and Warren share a debate stage. Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Sanders and Andrew Yang will also participate.\--With assistance from Caitlin Webber, Steven T. Dennis and Jennifer Epstein.To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Korte in New York at gkorte@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Coffee Has a Dire Week as Glut Sends Robusta to Nine-Year Low

    Coffee Has a Dire Week as Glut Sends Robusta to Nine-Year Low

    (Bloomberg) -- The coffee market needs a shot in the arm to break it out of a renewed slumber.Robusta, favored for instant drinks, dropped to the lowest since 2010 on Thursday and is down 4.8% this week. Coffee prices have been weighed down for several years amid too much supply, while a weaker currency in key producer Brazil has recently added more pressure.“We’re still suffering as a result of overproduction,” said Gary Herbert, a senior coffee broker at Sucden Financial Ltd. “There was the big Brazil crop a couple of years ago. This one isn’t so big, but also other countries like Colombia had big crops, Vietnam had reasonable crops.”Robusta futures were little changed at $1,270 a ton in London, down 17% this year. Arabica coffee, used in specialty drinks such as those made by Starbucks Corp., added 0.2% to 95.55 cents a pound in New York, but is down 1.3% this week.Here’s are some key market drivers:Market GlutA second straight global annual surplus has been the main driver of coffee’s slump. The International Coffee Organization this week raised its estimate for the 2018-19 glut by 26% to 4.96 million bags, and inventories are piling up after bumper harvests.A weaker Brazilian real has also hurt sentiment, because it encourages more exports from the key producer. The currency this week touched the weakest in almost a year versus the dollar.Bearish InvestorsMoney managers have been betting on lower robusta prices since December, and while they cut net-short positions slightly recently, they’re still holding one of the biggest bearish wagers on record. Speculators also expect declines in arabica.Chart watchers may find little reason to expect a sizable price recovery soon. Coffee futures have dropped below key moving average levels in recent months, and the 14-day relative-strength index isn’t showing that the market is oversold.Market ImpactLower prices might be good for roasters because they could end up paying less for beans, but they’re piling pressure on farmers. In some nations, prices are below the cost of production, and growers can find it hard to quickly switch to other crops because coffee trees last several years once planted.The price “is pretty low right now, and it’s putting a lot of pressure on many farmers,” Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “There are a number of farmers that are distressed.”In other soft commodities:Cotton is up slightly this week in New York as Hurricane Dorian threatened U.S. crops.Raw sugar is down 1.7% this week, trading near the lowest in almost a year.New York cocoa is set for a 0.7% weekly increase.To contact the reporters on this story: Nicholas Larkin in London at;Olivia Konotey-Ahulu in London at okonoteyahul@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at, Nicholas Larkin, Dylan GriffithsFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Coffee Snobs Are Shelling Out $3.25 for a Jolt of Instant

    Coffee Snobs Are Shelling Out $3.25 for a Jolt of Instant

    (Bloomberg) -- Benji Walklet recently reviewed the instant java sold by Los Angeles startup Waka Coffee. Walklet, who runs the Coffee Concierge blog, liked it but got a second opinion from a trusted critic—his wife, who has been known to compare coffee she doesn’t like to gasoline. “It passed my wife’s taste test,” he says, “and that’s really saying something.” Walklet typically drinks the real thing but stocked up on a 35-serving pack of Waka instant. “If the day gets off to a slow start or we’re in a hurry, it’s great to have instant coffee,” he says. “I wouldn’t buy Nescafe or Folgers or Maxwell House. That’s the snob in me talking.”Instant coffee, often relegated to brownie recipes and steak rubs, is making a comeback and even winning grudging approval from connoisseurs. A handful of startups including Waka, Sudden Coffee and Swift Cup Coffee have improved the taste and are attracting a new generation of convenience seekers who are too young to associate the product with the stuff their grandparents drank. They don’t mind paying up either: A Sudden four-pack sold at the Chicago-based coffee chain Intelligentsia goes for $13, or about $3.25 a serving.Instant remains a niche product, with just 6% of Americans drinking it, according to the National Coffee Association. But U.S. retail sales of the category rose in the year ended in June—the first gain following at least three years of declines, according to Nielsen data. Rising sales and instant’s popularity among 18- to 39-year-olds have prompted industry stalwarts Starbucks Corp. and Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. to re-evaluate the category. “Instant is super convenient and portable,” says Jim Watson, a beverage analyst at Rabobank. “You can throw a couple in your bag and travel everywhere. Instant has always been weighed down by being seen as a really low-end product. These specialty guys are making instant coffee cool again.”Developed by Nestle SA last century, instant coffee was made by spraying brewed liquid into hot air and drying it into powder or granules. Nestle, Folgers and Maxwell House quickly became the go-to brands for middle class people around the world. A Folgers television commercial from that era featured a husband complaining about his wife’s coffee. “Honey, your coffee is undrinkable,” he says. Later, she serves him a cup of Folgers, and marital harmony is restored. “Instant Folgers,” an announcer says. “Tastes good as fresh-perked.”For those who had tried the real thing, instant coffee lacked the body and flavor of a quality cup of Joe. No matter, Americans were hooked on convenience. Making instant involved nothing more than spooning crystals into a mug and adding boiling water—then maybe whitening the concoction with a powdered creamer.Everything changed when Starbucks created the cafe culture in the 1990s and popularized Arabica beans—the premium variety. A snob ethos took hold, and consumers thought nothing of paying $3 or more for a cup of coffee. In 1998, Keurig K-Cups—or single-use pods—entered the mix. It wasn’t quite instant, but provided a popular way for time-pressed people to brew fast.Instant was re-imagined 10 years ago, when Starbucks introduced Via Ready Brew packets in an effort to sell more coffee in grocery stores. Via was made with 100% Arabica beans, cost less than $1 per cup and appealed to people on the go. Sales have been steady but have never really taken off, says John A. Quelch, dean of the Miami Business School at the University of Miami, who has done Starbucks case studies. “They didn’t put a tremendous amount of marketing muscle behind it,” he says.With K-Cup growth slowing and Starbucks not pushing Via hard, a host of small players have emerged, employing new methods they say produce better-tasting instant. They typically freeze-dry Arabica beans and sell their wares online or in specialty coffee shops. Sudden was co-founded by a Finnish barista named Kalle Freese, who pioneered a technique in San Francisco that involves lowering the temperature of brewed coffee to -20 degrees Fahrenheit then heating it slightly to let the water vaporize. The traditional heating method can taste “woody and burnt,” says Sudden Chief Executive Officer Josh Zloof. “There’s no reason from a science perspective why instant coffee has to taste bad.”Sudden, sold in plastic tubes containing 4.5 grams of coffee, can be mixed with hot or cold water. The company avoids the “I” word, choosing to describe the product as “crystallized” rather than instant coffee. The four-year-old startup has raised $5 million and is looking for more funding to ramp up capacity. Zloof says he’s had talks with bigger companies and that it’s just a matter of time before Sudden inks partnerships. He says quality instant solves the “second-cup” problem—when people are looking for an afternoon caffeine fix but don’t necessarily want to head to Starbucks or drink office-provided K-Cups or Nespresso pods. “It’s not really replacing lower-quality instant coffee,” Zloof says. “It’s also not really replacing going to the cafe or the morning ritual.”David Kovalevski, who started Waka last year, says his products have landed in “best instant coffee” lists from major coffee publications and is confident sales will improve as his company educates consumers about the merits of instant coffee and differentiates itself from traditional brands.Instant’s growing popularity has prompted big brands to take a second look. Dunkin’ executives are taste-testing new prototypes and working with partners to create instant varieties to offer in its stores. “The quality has gotten significantly better,” says Dunkin’ CEO Dave Hoffmann. “Before any of that you’d probably rub it on your steak and put it on the grill. You wouldn’t drink that.”Starbucks, meanwhile, is looking to jumpstart growth for Via with new flavors such as blonde roast, iced coffee and pumpkin-spice latte. The company is working on “more innovation to the Via brand in the near future,” a spokeswoman says, noting that the line is luring Keurig loyalists, along with more “mainstream” roast and ground customers.Bailey Manson never thought he’d be selling instant coffee when he joined Intelligentsia seven years ago. “We were naysayers for quite a while,” says the coffee chain’s education and service program manager. Then last year, Intelligentsia teamed up with Sudden to freeze dry a variety of single-origin coffee from Colombia. It sold out, despite the hefty price. “What you’re paying for is the convenience,” Manson says. “Nobody wants to go get coffee and have it be hard.”To contact the author of this story: Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at, Anne Riley MoffatFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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    (Bloomberg) -- They’ve scrapped the newspapers and beefed up the food, but most Starbucks cafes in the U.S. don’t look all that different today than they did a decade ago. That’s about to change.Starbucks Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson, in the role for more than two years now, is ripping up the old store blueprints in a bid to revitalize growth. First on the list: a pick-up cafe in New York set to open this fall to cater to busy coffee-drinkers on the go.The Manhattan store, which is still in development, will build off of the chain’s success with its Starbucks Now concept in China that lets customers order in advance on mobile phones and collect their items in a specialty “express” shop without the wait. Starbucks could eventually roll out similar pick-up locations in other cities including Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Johnson said. They aren’t intended to replace the existing cafes, which give consumers a “third place” to relax that’s away from home and work.“What we’re using Starbucks Now for, and what will be Starbucks pick-up stores in the U.S., is to blend them in where we have dense urban areas where we have a lot of Starbucks third-place cafes,” Johnson said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Chicago bureau. “Think of it as a Starbucks pick-up.”Barista SupportJohnson, 58, is also reimagining the chain’s nearly 15,000 U.S. locations by leaning heavily into automation. Shift scheduling and counting inventory are among the tasks being moved off of human workers through automation, which means baristas and managers will have more time to come out from behind counters to tidy up tables and offer free drink samples to customers.They’ll also have more time to plan community events outside of those prescribed by the company, Johnson said. For example, a Starbucks manager in Trenton, New Jersey, used her freed up time to host open-mic nights on Saturdays to boost weekend traffic, the company said.The coffee behemoth is gathering 12,000 store managers and other employees in Chicago this week in its largest worker meeting ever for workshops, classes and lectures on the automation and other changes ahead, plus sessions on mental health and sustainability. It’s a $50 million investment for the Seattle-based company.“Helping partners spend more time with customers -- it’s really at the core of driving growth,” Johnson said. “As we grow, one of the investments we have to make is that investment in labor.”Johnson’s TenureStarbucks, the world’s second-largest restaurant company by market capitalization, has been refocusing on its priority markets of the U.S. and China in a push to underpin more vigorous growth. Earnings in the company’s most recent quarter were a step in that direction, with Starbucks posting its fastest global sales growth in three years.These aren’t the first big changes from Johnson, who has held the CEO title since 2017. He already expanded delivery in both China and the U.S., and he has prioritized getting new food and drinks into the hands of customers faster by slashing development times to as little as 100 days, whereas before it may have taken as long as 18 months.He has also closed poorly performing locations in densely penetrated U.S. markets and turned over some foreign operations to partners. Last year, the company announced it would cut about 5% of its corporate workers in order to boost profit and streamline decision making.Investors have applauded Johnson’s efforts: Starbucks shares have surged nearly 50% so far this year.China GrowthIn China, where it operates about 4,000 restaurants and plans to have 6,000 by 2023, the chain is still expanding at breakneck speed with a new location every 15 hours. Globally, the company is opening a store roughly every four hours.While Starbucks has been in China for two decades, more rivals are popping up, including plucky Luckin Coffee Inc. To compete, Starbucks is experimenting more with ghost-kitchen locations in Shanghai and investing in the pick-up and delivery stores in Beijing that will help model the U.S. version. Tim Hortons is also betting big on China’s large and growing middle class that’s drinking more java.“It’s no surprise there’s going to be more competitors, and that’s okay,” Johnson said of the Chinese market. “More competitors help accelerate the introduction of premium Arabica coffee to Chinese consumers and ultimately, that’s good for the industry. And ultimately what’s good for the industry will be good for Starbucks.”\--With assistance from Jonathan Roeder, Isis Almeida and Elizabeth Campbell.To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anne Riley Moffat at, Craig GiammonaFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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