How the election is affecting Starbucks' business

Starbucks COO: One day China biz will be larger than US

Starbucks is making more money — but a divisive presidential election is making business tougher, the company's president told CNBC's on Friday.

"All retailers are facing some challenging operating conditions today," said Kevin Johnson, president and chief operating officer for Starbucks. "Certainly, the election is creating a lot of noise in the market. That's requiring retailers, us included, to work harder to break through. "

The coffee chain posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday, hitting a fiscal fourth-quarter record. But same-store sales, a key measure of improvement in the restaurant industry, fell short of Wall Street's estimates.

The Seattle-based company reported adjusted earnings of 56 cents a share on $5.71 billion in revenue, topping the 55 cents a share on $5.68 billion in revenue expected by a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson
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But traffic in existing U.S. stores fell 1 percent, leaving same-store sales to rise just 4 percent in the U.S.

The company has come under criticism by some conservatives for a new green cup that the company said was meant to symbolize unity ahead of the election. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has also been vocal this election season, endorsing Democrat Hillary Clinton. But Johnson said on "Squawk on the Street" he doesn't think that affected the chain's financial results.

"This has been a very divisive election season," Johnson said. "There's been a lot of discussion around the election on television, in print, and customers discussing it. But at the end of the day, I think people come to Starbucks for a bit of a retreat from all that noise, for a place to come to have a joyful experience — enjoy a beverage with family and friends — and just connect with people. "

Starbucks' shares rose 2.3 percent on Friday, coming off a fresh 52-week low of $50.84 a share. The stock is down 11 percent year to date.

The company has faced other challenges, as mall traffic struggles amid the rise of shopping on Amazon, Johnson said. But Starbucks also has many bright spots, thanks to growth in China and sales of Keurig cups and bottled ready-to-drink Frappuccinos, Johnson said.

"Don't get caught up in a short-term view of same-store comparables," Johnson said. "We'll go through ebbs and flows on that."