Starbucks in decline

Stabucks in decline? You be the judgeWalking through downtown Vancouver on a rainy November day, I cannot help but think that the precipitation has a familiar flavor to it…

Coffee. Yes, coffee.

Is it possible? Well, if one particular North American city has coffee on the mind (and in the air), it is most certainly Vancouver, British Columbia.

And if you walk as briskly as I do, it is entirely possible to pass 7 Starbucks locations in less than 3 minutes – more of them if you are creative – i.e. in a panic or running from a failed bank robbery or something.

But how busy are the Starbucks these days? Especially considering that Vancouver is now the hub of specialty coffee central in North America. Like London, England in the 16th Century, Vancouver has cafes for business people, for geeks like me, for artists, for construction workers, people on the move, people at rest… heck there are cafes in hospitals and bookstores… everywhere it seems.

What the numbers are indicating is – Starbucks is in a modest decline. A 1 percent drop in traffic at stores open at least 13 months marked the first time the company has seen such a decline.

In a recent earnings report it was revealed that Starbucks shares fell more than 9 percent, or $2.25, to $21.90 (U.S.). Amazing?

Maybe not. It is possible that Starbucks international may have mis-read consumers desire to have the one-brand experience where-ever they go.

Here is some classic Howard Shultz – C.E.O. of Starbucks:

Chairman Howard Schultz said coffee drinkers who try out cheaper competitors will upgrade to Starbucks.

“Those consumers over time are going to trade up. They’re going to trade up because they are not going to be satisfied with the commoditized experience or the flavor,” he said.

Commoditized experience, Howard?

Let’s let our readers sort out the utter irony of this statement!