Highlights From The Starbucks Update On US, China: Coffee Chain Sees 'Rapidly Evolving' Consumer Preferences

Global coffee and food chain Starbucks Corporation SBUX released an update Wednesday on its U.S. and China businesses. 

Starbucks Moves Beyond 'Mitigate And Contain': Starbucks said it is ready to move beyond the "mitigate and contain" phase to a "monitor and adapt" phase. The company has already re-opened the "vast majority" of stores around the world and said it is seeing "clear evidence of business recovery" as each week passes.

New Vision From Starbucks: The coffee chain said it has a new vision for large cities: Starbucks wants to operate a mix of traditional stores and Pickup locations.

"This strategy aligns closely with rapidly evolving customer preferences that have accelerated as a result of COVID-19, including higher levels of mobile ordering, more contactless pick-up experiences, and reduced in-store congestion, all of which naturally allow for greater physical distancing," according to the Seattle-based chain. 

Starbucks said it expects to accelerate the development of Pickup locations in major U.S. cities over the next 18 months.

Starbucks China Update: A recovery in China started in late February and 99% of stores in the country are now open, Starbucks said Wednesday. Among the stores that are open, the coffee chain said 90% have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The company opened 57 net new stores throughout April and May. Starbucks now oversees more than 4,400 stores in China and is on track to add at least 500 net new stores for the full fiscal year, the company said. 

Starbucks US Update: U.S. comparable store sales for May improved from negative 63% in April to negative 43%. The trend improved throughout May, with same-stores sales down 32% in the last week of the month, representing the sixth consecutive week of sequential improvement. 

Today, 95% of U.S. company-operated Starbucks stores are operating at various levels of modified operations. The remaining 5% of sores are mostly located in the New York City area.

SBUX Price Action: Starbucks shares were down 4.39% at $78.75 at the time of publication. 

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