Categories Analysis, Consumer

Starbucks (SBUX): A glimpse into the performance of its two key markets

The company anticipates average weekly sales growth in the low-to-mid single-digits range in Q4 in China

Shares of Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) were down over 1% on Wednesday. The stock has dropped 4% over the past one month. The coffee chain saw sales and profits increase in the double digits during its most recent quarter with growth across most of its segments. The company has a sizeable presence in the US and China, making these its key markets. Here’s a look at the performance of these regions during the most recent quarter:

US

In the third quarter of 2023, overall revenues for Starbucks’ North America segment grew 11% year-over-year to $6.7 billion while comparable store sales increased 7%. Within North America, comparable store sales in the US grew 7% as well, driven by solid ticket performance.

The company saw a growth of 21% in its US licensed store revenues in Q3, helped by a rise in post-COVID travel as well as strength across its portfolio. Its 90-day active Starbucks Rewards customers in the US grew around 15% YoY to 31.4 million during the quarter.

At the end of the third quarter, stores in the US and China comprised 61% of Starbucks’ global portfolio. The company ended Q3 with 16,144 stores in the US. Starbucks sees significant opportunity for new store growth in under-penetrated areas in the US. These include smaller cities along with new formats in larger metros.

China

Starbucks’ revenue in its International segment rose 24% YoY to $2 billion in Q3, with comparable store sales growth of 24%. Within International, revenue from China grew 51% on a YoY basis and 8% sequentially in the third quarter. Comparable store sales in China were up 46%, driven by a 48% increase in comparable transactions.

In its most recent quarter, the coffee chain reached over 20 million 90-day active Starbucks Rewards customers in China, marking the highest number it has had in the region. Starbucks ended the third quarter with 6,480 stores in China. Similar to the US, the company sees potential for expansion in under-penetrated areas in the China market.

In the third quarter, Starbucks saw average weekly sales in China increase sequentially and this momentum is expected to continue into the fourth quarter, with average weekly sales growth of low-to-mid single-digits resulting in similar-sized comp growth for the quarter.

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