Starbucks' outgoing Executive Chairman Howard Schultz said on Monday that a recent slowdown in China would be short-lived, seeking to salve investor concerns that the U.S. coffee chain is under pressure in the fast-growing market.
Starbucks said last month China same-store sales would be flat to slightly negative in its second-biggest market in April-June, versus 7 percent growth a year earlier, triggering a sharp drop in the chain's share price.
Schultz, ostensibly on a farewell tour after he stepped down in June, said fears of a slowdown in the market were a "false narrative," and that over time the closely watched metric would regain its momentum.
"It's a very short-term number that Wall Street uses, it's not a number we're concerned about," he said at a roundtable at the firm's flagship Roastery store in Shanghai.
"I will say, unequivocally, that anyone who is betting against Starbucks in China is dead wrong."
China has been a sweet spot for Starbucks for the past few years, with a burgeoning cafe culture driving rapid growth even as the market saturated back home.
Schultz, who owned about 3 percent of Starbucks stock as of Dec. 18, sees China as overtaking the United States as Starbucks' top market, with the firm aiming to double cafe numbers there to 6,000 by 2022.