A massive Asian expansion and a heated debate over gun rights are just a few of the things going on at Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) these days. But despite the tension that's percolating in the world's largest purveyor of designer coffees, Starbucks is in the midst of an impressive turnaround.
Years of rapidly adding new stores forced the company into a stark retrenchment when the economy soured. One thousand of the trendy coffee shops were closed and many more employees let go. Starbucks stock plunged more than 80% from its 2007 peak of about $40 a share to under $8 a share in November 2008.
But the company's restructuring - which shaved roughly $600 million in costs - and an improved economy have provided a refreshing jolt. Starbucks in January reported its first quarter of same-store sales growth since the end of 2008. And its share price has bounced back to a respectable $24.84 a share as of yesterday's (Wednesday) close.
The days of reckless overexpansion and troubling closures are have come to an end, insists Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz.