Investment Followers Are Loving This Starbucks News

Like everyone else in the restaurant industry, Starbucks has been having its share of ups and downs. Pandemic-induced problems like labor shortages, inflation, and a strained supply chain certainly have something to do with it, but Starbucks has also faced some unique challenges of its own as of late. Starbucks employees have been winning numerous battles in their collective campaign to unionize various locations, but have faced significant pushback from higher-ups at the company in the process. And just the other day, the San Diego County news outlet CBS8 reported that, over the last week or so, some Starbucks customers have been arriving at local stores only to find them closed for business. The reason for this is still unknown, although many suspect that it has something to do with ongoing staffing issues, which CBS8 notes is not necessarily specific to Starbucks. 

However, in an ironic twist of not-quite-fate, on the same day that CBS8 reported these unexpected store closures, the foot-traffic analytics expert Placer came out with a report indicating that — unforeseen business interruptions aside — foot traffic at Starbucks was up throughout 2021. Here's why that is some very titillating news for investment-minded folks, as well as Starbucks fans. 

Foot traffic has increased throughout the pandemic

Despite a rather slow start to 2021 in terms of foot traffic, by the end of November, Starbucks was seeing 13.2% more foot traffic at its stores compared with 2019, which, as you will recall, was pre-pandemic (via Placer). That foot traffic is up overall is, of course, encouraging news for Starbucks as a company. One thing that remains to be seen, however, is whether the "general upward trend" will continue, per The Street, which notes that foot traffic can fluctuate significantly from month to month. In fact, despite that it was up by 14.7% for November alone, it was down 2.6% for December. 

"As more people return to the office, the drop-in numbers at Starbucks should increase," Placer predicts, although it's important to note that Placer is not affiliated with Starbucks and is not in a position to make official predictions or promises on Starbucks' behalf.

It's also unclear whether and to what extent the general uptick in foot traffic will impact the coffee chain's earnings per share for Q1 2022, as well as how that new information will impact the value of Starbucks common stock. Per The Street, Starbucks share prices have fallen 18.32% over the last six months. Of course, as with all stock market prices, Starbucks' price per share reflects not just individual data points but the sum total of how investors perceive the company and its prospects going forward. Stay tuned.