Seeing Beyond Starbucks' Tumble

Starbucks (NAS: SBUX) reported perfectly fine second-quarter results, but it just wasn't enough for some investors following the shares' recently lofty highs.

Fiscal second-quarter net income increased 18.5% to $309.9 million. Operating income, on the other hand, increased 14% to $430.4 million. A major increase in interest and other income occurred because of a court ruling that resulted in higher unredeemed gift card income in the quarter.

Total sales jumped 14.7% to $3.2 billion. Starbucks' total same-store sales jumped 7%, with 6% attributed to increased traffic and 1% increase in average ticket.

The coffee giant touted its increased expansion efforts and said Chinese same-store-sales growth exceeded 20% for the seventh consecutive quarter. It's opened its 3,000th store in the Asia-Pacific segment and its first store in Norway.

Not surprisingly in the current macroeconomic climate, though, Europe was a drag. Same-store sales in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa market dropped 1%, marking the only segment that posted a decrease in comps.

So far, Starbucks and Dunkin' Brands (NAS: DNKN) are the only major coffee stocks that have reported this quarter's results. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NAS: GMCR) , Caribou (NAS: CBOU) , and Peet's (NAS: PEET) are all scheduled to report theirs next week. It should be interesting to see how these companies have responded to the economic environment, including higher coffee prices.

Today, Starbucks' shares are trading at 26 times forward earnings. That compares to a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 13 for Green Mountain. Ironically, though, Starbucks shares are cheaper than smaller rivals Caribou and Peet's, which are trading at 26 and 33 times forward earnings, respectively.

I'd steer clear of Green Mountain, which should give investors pause, particularly because of the accounting questions pointed out by folks like former Crazy Eddie CFO (and convicted-fraudster-turned-anti-white-collar-crime-crusader) Sam E. Antar. There's also the fact that despite Green Mountain's touted social responsibility, heck -- those Keurig K-Cups are clogging up landfills.

Granted, Starbucks' own K-Cup partnership with Green Mountain makes it part of this problem, too. Still, brewing problems with K-Cups and the single-serve coffee machine market reflect more on Green Mountain's business than Starbucks (which will launch its own single-serve contraption later this year).

I trust Starbucks to brew up future growth far beyond plays such as Caribou or Peet's. This isn't just about international expansion (or reversing current weakness in Europe), but the fact that it's a well-run company that's got loads of new initiatives, like the innovative Evolution Fresh concept.

In other words, today's results shouldn't cool long-term investors' ardor for Starbucks. If anything, it's just a tiny blip on the long-term view and a chance to buy the shares a bit cheaper than they were a few days ago.

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At the time thisarticle was published Alyce Lomax owns shares of Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Starbucks and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing covered calls on Starbucks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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