Starbucks is far and away the world's largest coffee store chain, with locations in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., China, Germany and Thailand, among other international locations. The Seattle-based company provides various coffee and tea products, and licenses its trademarks through other channels such as licensed stores, grocery stores and national foodservice accounts.
Here’s how it sizes up to Cramer’s growth criteria.
1. Clear Growth Path: Starbucks has a long-term growth rate of nearly 20 percent, Cramer said. It is expanding in emerging markets and is moving into new product categories such as single-serve coffee for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ Keurig single-serve coffee maker.
2. Market for Products: Coffee is big business, Cramer said. The at-home coffee market alone is $50 billion, while the ready-to-drink beverage business is worth $60 billion.
3. Competition: Starbucks has practically become synonymous with coffee, Cramer said, so competitiveness is not really an issue.
4. Capital to Shareholders: Last year, Starbucks increased its dividend by 31 percent. Cramer thinks it will continue to give its shares a boost.
5. International Expansion: As mentioned, Starbucks is expanding around the world. The company plans to triple its store count in China to 1,500 locations from 500 by 2015.
6. Balance Sheet Strength: Cramer thinks Starbucks has a terrific balance sheet that boasts a strong net cash position.
7. Is It Expensive?: Starbucks is trading at about 25 times next year’s earnings estimates, which Cramer doesn’t consider expensive considering its 19 percent long-term growth rate.
8. Strong Management: Cramer praised CEO Howard Shultz for turning the company around in recent years.
9. Secular Growth: To Cramer, Starbucks is a secular growth story. He thinks it can continue to expand, despite the global economic slowdown.
10. Margin Growth: As Starbucks expands around the globe, its margins should rise sharply, Cramer believes. With the cost of coffee declining, Starbucks has the ability to lock in lower prices for next year, he says.