Joe Nocera, a business writer for the New York Times with some serious marketing smarts, wrote Saturday that Starbucks Howard Schultz (who has reclaimed the reigns at Starbucks) doesn’t get it. Mr. Nocera thinks big changes need to be made in order for the ship to be righted. I disagree.
The original vision of Starbucks is still strong and so long as the store growth is slowed and properly managed Starbucks will return to a growth stock.
What’s so cool about Starbucks today is that kids are really digging the experience. They are making road trips at night to Starbucks and if you happen to frequent Starbucks near a high school, you’ll note that the place is flooded with teens at lunchtime and after the final bell.
If Mr. Schultz figures this out, and I’m sure he will, and he caters to this growing segment in an elegant, soft-handed manner, he will kick some serious retail butt. This a “growth” not a “harvest” market segment.
Mr. Nocera also thinks the Starbucks international growth plans are not a good idea. Here, too, I disagree. Starbucks is seen as a “cool” American brand. In a world that is increasingly growing tired of the American commercial way, Starbucks remains an icon that holds positive sway.