Starbucks has seen nearly $12 billion erased from its market value during the past month as sales reportedly have slowed amid tighter consumer wallets and growing labor strife — with some even speculating the chain has been hit by boycotts over the Israel-Gaza war.
Investors have grown wary that consumers will splash out on a pricey cup of joe during the holiday season when budgets get tighter, according to Bloomberg, citing sales data from JPMorgan analysts that signaled a material slowing at Starbucks in November.
Despite delivering better-than-expected sales growth of 8% in its fiscal fourth quarter, the coffeehouse’s share price has decelerated on a week-over-week basis, following trends in the snack and coffee industry.
When the markets opened on Monday, Starbucks’ stock dropped 1.6%, declining for a 11th consecutive session in what is the longest losing streak since Starbucks public debut in 1992.
The rout erased 9.4% of Starbucks market value, a decline of nearly $12 billion.
As of early trading hours Thursday, the Seattle-based company’s share price was down roughly 6.5%, to $96.90, on a monthly basis.
When the coffeehouse chain’s share price started to decline, it was putting on its annual Red Cup Day.
The promotional event saw baristas handing out free red-colored, reusable, holiday-themed cups to customers on their coffee purchases on Nov. 16, though the festivities were overshadowed by a walkout.
Hundreds of workers represented by the Workers United union walked off the job on the notoriously busy day — demanding improved staffing and schedules — while non-unionized staffers endured one of the most infamously hard, understaffed days, as drink orders pile up and employees end up on the receiving end of abuse from frustrated customers over long wait times.
The protest was just the latest in Starbucks’ deep-rooted disagreements with the union.
Last month, the two entities filed warring lawsuits over the union’s social media post declaring “Solidarity with Palestine!” in the wake of Hamas deadly attacks.
After Workers United published the controversial statement in a since-deleted post on X last month — where it boasts nearly 100,000 followers — Starbucks swiftly moved to distance itself from the organization.
We unequivocally condemn acts of terrorism, hate and violence, and disagree with the statements and views expressed by Workers United and its members. Workers Uniteds words and actions belong to them, and them alone,” Starbucks said at the time.
The response was interpreted as a display of support for Israel over Palestine, prompting calls for a boycott. Despite Starbucks’ efforts to quell boycott calls, the hashtag #boycottstarbucks is still trending on social media.
According to TikTok’s Creative Center, a database that details user insights, the hashtag has been used in some 16,000 times over the past 30 days, generating a combined 167 million views.
On X, other social media users appear to be cheering Starbucks’ decline.
“I haven’t gone to Starbucks in months due to the boycotts and I am so happy to see less people there too,” a user who goes by Kate wrote.
“WE WON,” another chimed in while a slew of commenters said the slash in market cap was “deserved.”
When The Post reached out to Starbucks for comment, a company spokesperson pointed to a message from its chief partner officer, Sara Kelly, posted on Starbucks’ website last month.
“Starbucks unequivocally condemns acts of hate, terrorism and violence,” Kelly wrote. “As a leadership team, we want to again express our deepest sympathy for those who have been killed, wounded, displaced and impacted following the heinous acts of terror, escalating violence and hate against the innocent in Israel and Gaza.”
Though Starbucks’ total value was down, its store sales at its 35,000-plus locations worldwide rose 8% for its 2023 fiscal year that ended in November.
Earlier this month, Starbucks said it would raise hourly pay for its US retail workers by at least 3% from 2024 after Workers United’s repeated pleas to give baristas an increased hourly base wage.
Staffers affiliated with Workers United which represents Starbucks staffers at 340 Starbucks locations across the US criticized the increase, calling it tone deaf given Starbucks recently-reported increases in revenue and the recent wage hikes won by auto workers.
Meanwhile, one of union’s founding organizers, Jaz Brisack, has previously voiced support for Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh, who was involved in bombings in Jerusalem in 1969 and 1970.
Brisack penned an op-ed in the Daily Mississippian in 2017 that referred to Odeh as a political prisoner.
Odeh was freed by Israel as part of a prisoner exchange in 1980 but arrested in the US in 2013 after illegally entering the country in the 1990s.
She was deported to Jordan in 2017.