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BenzingaEditorial

Starbucks Proves Loyalty Is Everything

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On Tuesday, Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) reported better-than-expected results for its fiscal third quarter, topping Wall Street’s estimates for both earnings and revenue. The powerful momentum empowered the multinational coffeehouse to raise its forecast for fiscal 2021 earnings per share, despite predicting slowing same-store sales growth in its second-largest market- China.

Figures

Starbucks’ revenue grew 78% to $7.5 billion, a record fueled by soaring cold drink sales in the United States, its home market. The top line translated to a net income of $1.15 billion, or 97 cents per share, up from a net loss of $678.4 million, or 58 cents per share a year earlier.

Non-GAAP per-share earnings amounted to $1.01. During the same quarter last year, global same-store sales plummeted 40% due to lockdowns across the globe and its main markets.

The 84% increase in same-store sales in the US fueled an increase in comparable-store sales of 73% compared to last year’s quarter. Outside of its home market, same-store sales jumped 41%, fueled by 55% growth in customer traffic.

The not-so-bright areas

Fears about rising labor costs did not materialize since operating margins were higher both than last quarter and the corresponding period last year. But analysts were expecting better performance in international markets. China reported same-store sales growth of 19% whereas last year, the country’s same-store sales fell 19%. Due to travel restrictions and related uncertainties, Starbucks now expects slowing same-store sales in a range between 18% to 20% in its second largest market, where it previously predicted growth of 27% to 32%. Next quarter, it expects flat same-store sales.

Brand loyalty remains strong

Starbucks’s coffee fans are as loyal as ever, especially in the U.S. where 90-day active members of its Rewards loyalty program increased 48% YoY. Its expanded digital customers base of 24.2 million now accounts for 51% of all spending in U.S. stores. This is an increase of 8% from pre-pandemic levels.

Outlook

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson concluded that with these record results, the coffee giant has demonstrated a powerful momentum beyond recovery due to its ability to stay ahead of shifting customer behaviors. Besides differentiating itself from competitors, it has protected itself from the impact of higher prices related to colder temperatures by locking in the price of its coffee beans for the next 14 months. The question remains whether strong U.S. growth will be enough to keep on offsetting slower international growth. Shares have risen 17% this year, giving it a market value of $148 billion but despite beating consensus revenue and earnings targets, stock was down 3% following the report.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

BMW, XPENG and Worksport Switching Gears Forward

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The EV revolution is happening with governments and automakers going full speed ahead to combat carbon emissions with all-electric vehicles. Many players joining forces in the attempt to win the race with the power of synergy. Even the almighty Toyota Motor (NYSE: TM) knew better than going at it alone as it partnered with Panasonic Corporation (OTC: PCRFY) to form Prime Planet Energy & Solutions to develop batteries that can be used over and over again anytime, anywhere. In June, Renault SA (OTC: RNLSY) revealed it formed two major partnerships to specialize in the design and production of EV batteries. In March, Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY) announced it aims to build several “gigafactories” in Europe by 2030. This week, we got a few more expansion updates.

BMW receives battery ‘fuel’

Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft (OTC: BMWYY) is also working on new concepts and ideas related to batteries.  Its project BMW-UK-BEV that is centered around the development of a long-distance EV battery has been awarded $36.07 million in joint funding from the industry and the U.K. government. The U.K. is determined to stop selling new diesel and gasoline cars and vans by 2030, the Oxford-based project is one of four to receive funding as new technologies that address range anxiety are crucial to wider EV adoption.

XPeng is is quadrupling capacity

The Chinese EV maker announced it will quadruple capacity as it signed an agreement with a Zhaoqing Smart EV Manufacturing Base expansion project that will boost capacity to 200,000 units annually from 100,000 units. The expansion will enable Xpeng Inc (NYSE: XPEV) to capture the anticipated increase in consumer demand for its smart EVs. In addition to Zhaoqing, XPeng is building manufacturing capacity in Guangzhou and Wuhan, which should enable it to make 400,000 EVs a year, four times what it produces today.

XPeng has delivered about 58,000 vehicles over the past 12 months, behind 76,000 vehicles from NIO Inc (NYSE: NIO) and 59,000 by Li Auto Inc (NASDAQ: LI).

All these three U.S.-listed Chinese EVs are expanding production to meet rising demand. Nio recently announced it will more than double its current production of 100,000 vehicles to 240,000 units a year. Li Auto raised more money in August selling stock in Hong Kong, part of which will commit to doubling capacity to 200,000 units a year.

Worksport announcing Pre-Order Date Solar Covers

Worksport moved into its new headquarters and 55,000 sqaure feet manufacturing facility. As its tonneau cover business continues to grow, Worksport Ltd (NASDAQ: WKSP) is getting ready for pre-production of its TerraVis solar-powered tonneau cover and its extension, the standalone COR battery system. The company also revealed it is expanding its EV ecosystem with a new product termed NPEV that aims to contribute to making transportation greener. Today Worksport announced its anticipated Pre-Order platform will go live on 21ste of September.

With a physical foundation and the right partners, as it joined forces with two EV players on two upcoming electric pickups, Worksport seems ready for the next chapter of its growth story that is bound to bring new technologies to the EV table.

These updates make it clear that capacity is expanding to meet rising EV demand. In July alone, EV sales grew about 200% YoY, and approximately 5% from June.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Even Covid-19 Cannot End Disney’s Enduring Magic

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Disney’s (NYSE: DIS) blowout third quarter that beat expectations across the board was fueled by growth in Disney+ subscribers and parks returning to profit. But now that Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary is around the corner, things are looking even better.

50th anniversary celebration

Walt Disney World is gearing up for its celebration which starts on October 1. Dining is returning to Orlando, Florida park as preparations are ongoing. The fact that normal operations are resuming at parks is a good sign that the company is on track when it comes to guest and travel confidence, which translates to an improved bottom line. The party tickets are sold separately from park entry tickets which implies an exponential growth as this segment was literally crushed by the pandemic one and a half year ago. The celebration will open a busy holiday travel season so it can be assumed that Disney stands to benefit from an increase in guest spending, from large purchases like annual passes to shopping for seasonal merchandise. As for the outlook, 2022 is looking brighter for the Parks, Experiences and Products segment.

Delta variant is looming

However, Covid continues plaguing the entertainment industry and the world for more than 18 months now, and there are fears that new variants will reverse the progress at Disney’s biggest money makers as theme parks and cruise lines are its lifeblood. Box office revenue also wasn’t exempt from the devastating blowdespite management trying to reinvent the release structure to drain as much benefit as possible. Streaming also resulted in a compensation-related and public lawsuit from Scarlett Johansson who found like many of her colleagues she was severely harmed by this model.

The White House steps in

On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden met with several top U.S. leaders, including the CEO of Disney, Bob Chapek, as part of his ongoing effort to push companies to require workers to be be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the delta variant rages on. Participants in the meeting also included Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ: WBA). However, corporations such U.S. automakers General Motors Co (NYSE: GM) and Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F) are encouraging employees to get the vaccine, but they remain quiet about the executive order. The White House hopes that this meeting will serve “as a rallying cry for more businesses across the country to step up and install measures to boost vaccination rates.

Luckily for Disney that it released Disney+ when it did

Direct to consumer division that includes several streaming services besides Disney+, including ESPN+, Hulu has benefited from people being much more at home. Launched in November 2019, just a few months before the pandemic struck, Disney+  has literally kept Disney afloat while the other divisions struggled to keep their heads above water. Without this division, Disney would not have a rare bright spot over the past year and a half.

The magic lives on

Almost a century old company has endured many things, but the COVID-19 pandemic was by far the worst crisis that the entertainment giant faced as its business model was perfectly exposed to this invisible enemy. Although COVID held its cash-cows hostage, the power of Disney goes beyond the physical experience. Back in August, Target (NYSE: TGT) revealed it will nearly triple the number of Disney shops inside its stores to more than 160 by the end of year, in an attempt to increase foot traffic ahead of the anticipated holiday season. Target hopes that Disney can help it stand out and raise its toy department’s price point. Over almost a century, Disney’s brand evolved while staying loyal to its core values of its founder. In doing so, it became a synonym for storytelling that brings magic to life. Its “once upon a time” earned it an iconic status that made this global brand stronger than any virus- related fear.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Oracle Is Aiming for the Cloud

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The enterprise software maker reported its fiscal first quarter revenue on Monday, with its top segment, as well as hardware, missing expectations. Revenue came below expectations as Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL) announced a program during the quarter to encourage customers to adopt its public cloud services in the quarter by reducing or even eliminating its licensing support costs.

Encouraging migrations to the cloud

The support rewards program offers customers who make new commitments to buy Oracle Cloud Infrastructure services to earn rewards that can reduce or even eliminate their Oracle on-premises technology licensing support bills.

Fiscal Q1 figures

For the quarter that ended on August 31st, revenue increased 4% YoY as it amounted to $9.73 billion. Refinitiv reported analysts expected $9.77 billion, whereas the prior quarter’s growth rate was double at 8% respectively.

The two new cloud businesses

The cloud license and on-premises license segment brought in $813 million to the revenue table, down 8% and lower than the $859.7 million consensus. Cloud is fundamentally a more profitable business compared to on-premise. Management expects operating margins to be the same or better than pre-pandemic levels. The company does not disclose revenue nor operating income from its two services that now make 25% of its total revenue with an annual run rate of $10 billion.

The largest business segment, cloud services and license support, generated $7.37 billion in revenue, which is up 6%, although below the StreetAccount consensus estimate of $7.41 billion.

The hardware unit generated $763 million in revenue, down 6% and below the $778.5 million estimate.

Increased capital expenditures

Oracle’s capital expenditures exceeded $1 billion, more than doubling compared to the $436 million in the year-ago quarter as executives invested to build the necessary infrastructure to meet expected cloud demand.

To expand and strengthen its footing in the cloud computing space, Oracle, which counts Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) as one of its customers, has been heavily investing in opening more data centers to rent to clients as they shift their operations to the cloud.

 Fiscal Q2 guidance

For the undergoing quarter, CEO Safra Catz expects earnings per share to come in the range between $1.09 to $1.13 on 3% to 5% revenue growth. Analysts polled by Refinitiv are expecting a 5% revenue growth to result in adjusted earnings of $1.08 per share.

A crowded space

Austin, Texas-based company whose shares have risen about 40% year to date is in a crowded space of rivals no other than tech titans Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) Corp that makie it much more challenging to benefit from cloud computing trends.

In a nutshell, Oracle fell short of Wall Street expectations because of incentives it offered to its customers in an attempt to position itself among the clouds.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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