Whereas J.C. Penney has amassed inventory in boring, everyday essentials, coffee king Starbucks has elevated the quality of its holiday gift items (gift card photos, designer inspired mugs, and arrival of the Starbucks for Life card) and broadened the assortment of the merchandise in its stores. The goal: Pique the interest of those out and about as weak mall, and off-mall, traffic has plagued Starbucks for about a year.
"A year ago today, we began talking about the macro shift in the amount of traffic that was going through malls and main streets in America," pointed our Starbucks Chairman, President and CEO Howard Schultz on the company's recent earnings call. "And as a result of what happened last year and that is less people shopping with bricks and mortar stores and much more people shopping online in their mobile devices." Starbucks COO Troy Alstead added, "We are not satisfied with 1-percent traffic growth in the Americas and are taking immediate steps to grow traffic."
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Therefore, a good start to Black Friday for the nation's retailers may not necessarily mean the holidays is off to a great beginning for mighty Starbucks. It's reasonable to expect commentary on the company's holiday sales to date at its hotly-anticipated biennial investor day set to be held on Thursday, December 4. The future of Starbucks is likely to be unwrapped as well, specifically new evening foods and the mechanics behind the rollout of a same-day delivery service next year.