First spotted by Barron’s, the coffee chain’s chief operating officer, Rosalind Brewer purchased $270,200 worth of Starbucks shares in the open market, acquiring 5,000 earlier this week at a price of $54.04 a share. The executive now holds 7,302 shares of the company.
Brewer First Insider to Buy Shares in a Year
According to Barron’s, Brewer is the first C-level executive at Starbucks to purchase shares in a year. Prior to Brewer’s move, Barron’s noted that Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, executive chair of the LEGO Brand Group and a Starbucks board member, was the last insider to buy Starbucks stock. On Aug. 4, 2017, he purchased 18,000 shares spending $995,360 at an average price per share of $55.30. Prior to the board member’s move, the last insider to buy stock was in December 2013 when Myron E. Ullman, now the company's chair, bought 7,000 shares for $535,000 reported Barron’s. (See also: How Starbucks Can Profit From Alibaba Alliance.)
Starbucks Stock Under Pressure This Year
The move on the part of Brewer comes at a time when shares of the coffee chain are suffering. So far this year, the stock is down 9% as it faces increased competition from the likes of Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (DNKN). Dunkin’ Donuts shares are up close to 8% so far this year. Over the past two years, it’s stock has gained more than 60% while Starbucks has fallen 10%. And even as Dunkin’ Donuts shares gain, Chantico Global CEO Gina Sanchez told CNBC in late July the stock has more room to grow. The optimism comes in part from the better-than-expected earnings results Dunkin’ has been able to deliver in six of the last seven quarters. It also launched new beverages that are resonating with consumers.
Meanwhile, Starbucks, said Sanchez, is reaching its market penetration limits with it recently announcing it will shutter 150 underperforming stores next year. “The last two years have really been a sign of just far too much market penetration and now you’re talking about having to close a series of unproductive stores,” said Sanchez. (See also: Starbucks Plans Nationwide Delivery in China.)
For its fiscal third quarter, which Starbucks reported in late July, the company was able to beat Wall Street estimates. Sales for the three-month period increased 11.5% to $6.31 billion compared to $5.66 billion in the year-ago third quarter. Its loyalty program, which is seen as a tool to push back the increasing competition, added 1.9 million active members during the June-ending quarter, which is a 14% increase from a year ago. At last count, Starbucks had a user base of 15.1 million for its loyalty program.