Is Starbucks in Trouble Going Forward?

Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailer Conference that its 2020 growth outlook may not be up to snuff.

The coffee giant cut its earnings per share (EPS) growth outlook in 2020, saying that it expects EPS to be “meaningfully below” the model of at least 10% growth.

The impact is due in part to a tax benefit in 2019 that will end in its next fiscal year, which starts in October, and the company also will reduce share buybacks.

In recent years, Starbucks has made some changes to revitalize growth, including closing locations in U.S. markets that were densely populated with cafes and instead focusing more on suburban markets and expansion in China.

The company backed its fiscal 2019 EPS guidance of $2.80 to $2.82, which is roughly in line with the analyst consensus estimate of $2.82.

Looking ahead to the fiscal 2020 full year, consensus estimates are calling for $3.12 in EPS and $28.45 billion in revenue.

Chief Financial Officer Pat Grismer commented:

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.

In July, the company posted its best quarterly sales growth in three years, boosted by gains in customer traffic and higher prices. It also increased its profit forecast, buoying investors a year after uninspiring results had them questioning the company.

Excluding Wednesday’s move, Starbucks had outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up about 50% year to date. In the past 52 weeks, the stock was up 82%.

Shares of Starbucks traded down 1% on Wednesday to $95.55, in a 52-week range of $53.29 to $99.72. The consensus price target is $95.68.