In response to questions from reporters today about the economic climate in the U.S. and its impact on Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX - News), Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO, made the follow comment: “The downturn continued in the fourth quarter, and we did see a slight improvement in the first weeks of Q1 ... which might suggest that Starbucks may have hit bottom in terms of negative transactions in our fourth quarter.”
To provide further context, the company had expected U.S. fourth-quarter comparable store sales to be relatively stable with third-quarter trends. In fact, Starbucks experienced deterioration sequentially in its fourth quarter. October comparable store sales improved slightly over fourth quarter, due primarily to a higher average value per transaction.
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