The Vote Is In… Starbucks Earnings Greatness Needed To Be Even Greater

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Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) has reported its fiscal fourth quarter earnings. Expectations were high because the stock was within one percent of trading at an all-time high yet again. Howard Schultz and company reported earnings of $0.63 per share (EPS) and $3.8 billion in revenue. Thomson Reuters was calling for estimates of $0.60 EPS on $3.81 billion in revenue. The company’s comparable store sales grew 7%, driven by a 5% increase in traffic.

Starbucks is targeting sales growth for 2014 of 10% or higher, while Thomson Reuters was expecting sales growth of about 12%. Global same-store sales were forecast to rise in the mid-single-digits. It also sees earnings of $2.55 to $2.65 per share versus $2.67 expected from Thomson Reuters. Perhaps the company is sandbagging earnings in order to over-deliver ahead.

The company showed that its consolidated operating margin rose by 220 basis points to 17.6%. If you want one summary for the quarter, it was “by far the best year in Starbucks 42-year-history.”

Starbucks closed up over 1% at $80.83 against a 52-week trading range of $45.00 to $81.08. The consensus price target ahead of earnings was $84.69 and Starbucks was worth some $60.7 billion at the close.

Shares were initially indicated down about 16.% at $79.40 in the after-hours trading session.

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