Starbucks' CEO Discusses F1Q13 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Seeking Alpha

Starbucks (SBUX)

F1Q13 Results Earnings Call

January 24, 2013 5:00 p.m. ET

Executives

JoAnn DeGrande – IR

Howard Schultz – Chairman, President and CEO

Jeff Hansberry – President, Channel Development and Emerging Brands

Troy Alstead – CFO and Chief Administrative Officer

Clifford Burrows – President, Americas

Michelle Goss – President, Europe, Middle East and Africa

John Culver – President, China and Asia Pacific

Analysts

John Ivankoe – JPMorgan

David Palmer – UBS

Sharon Zackfia - William Blair

Joe Buckley - Bank of America

David Tarantino - Robert W. Baird

Keith Siegner – Credit Suisse

John Glass – Morgan Stanley

Jeffrey Bernstein – Barclays

Sara Senator – Sanford Bernstein

Nicole Miller Regan - Piper Jaffray

Presentation

Operator

[Operator instructions.] Ms. DeGrande, you may begin your conference call.

JoAnn DeGrande

Thanks, operator. Good afternoon. This is JoAnn DeGrande, vice president of investor relations for Starbucks Coffee Company. Joining me on the call today from New York is Howard Schultz, chairman, president, and CEO, and with me here in Seattle are Jeff Hansberry, president of our channel development and emerging brands business and Troy Alstead, CFO.

Also available for the Q&A session are Cliff Burrows, president of Americas here in Seattle with us, and joining us from London is Michelle Goss, president of EMEA; and from Tokyo, John Culver, president of China/Asia Pacific.

This conference will include forward-looking statements, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from these statements. Any such statements should be considered in conjunction with cautionary statements in our earnings release and the risk factor discussions in our filings with the SEC, including our last annual report on Form 10-K.

Starbucks assumes no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements or information. This conference call is being webcast and an archive of the webcast will also be available on our website.

Before I turn the call over to Howard, let me cover a few housekeeping matters. Today we filed an 8-K that outlined a few reporting changes, including the shift of certain G&A expenses from “other” to our four reporting segments. The results we’ve reported today reflect these changes.

We have also recapped full year results for fiscal 2010 through 2012, and have posted the recapped financials on our website. They should be there shortly.

Additionally, Starbucks’ 2013 annual meeting of shareholders will be held in Seattle at 10 am Pacific time on Wednesday, March 20. That meeting will be available via webcast as well. With that, let me turn the call over to Howard Schultz. Howard?

Howard Schultz

JoAnn, thank you, and good afternoon to everyone on today’s call. I am very pleased to report the record first quarter fiscal 2013 results Starbucks announced today: strong global comp store sales growth with comps of 7% in the U.S. and in the Americas, record quarterly revenues of $3.8 billion, and increase in our total company operating margin to 16.6% and a record earnings of $0.57 per share, the highest quarterly EPS in Starbucks history.

Noteworthy is that Starbucks’ record Q1 results were delivered against a backdrop of weak consumer confidence and an overall weak global economy. With nearly 70 million customers visiting our more than 18,000 stores on seven continents in 61 countries each week, Starbucks’ Q1 results demonstrate the strength, unique resilience, and increasing relevance of our global business and brand.

And the momentum we have built coming into Q2 ideally positions us to kick our growth plans into high gear and to deliver increased profits to our shareholders in 2013 and beyond, as we continue to execute against our blueprint for profitable growth and plans for adding thousands of net new stores over the next five years.

Not evident from record operating results alone are the facts that in Q1 we also drove significant, relevant product and beverage innovation and provided an enhanced in-store experience to customers around the world and implemented strategic operating improvements throughout the organization to streamline the business and deliver increased operating efficiencies into the future, all while delivering the strongest holiday performance in Starbucks’ 42-year history.

I’ll touch on a few of these developments and then turn the call over to Jeff Hansberry, president of channel development and emerging brands, and then on to Troy.

As I’ve said many times over the years, core to Starbucks’ success are our store partners, our ability to attract, develop, and retain the very best people in our industry, and our ability to create inspired moments for our customers. I’m delighted to report that our U.S. partners achieved record levels of productivity in Q1, an extraordinary accomplishment given the high volume of customer traffic and thousands of Verisimo demonstrations in our stores during the holiday season.

To my partners around the world, I say thank you for all you do to bring the Starbucks brands to life in our stores and for our customers every day, and particularly for your hard work and effort that enabled us to deliver the results we announced today. On a personal note, I also could not be more proud of the fact that last week Starbucks was recognized for the 15th year by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 best companies to work for.

Despite what for many retailers was a lackluster holiday season, Starbucks’ holiday exceeded our own expectations with successful promotions including the “12 Days of Gifting” the return of Christmas Blend, and a fresh take on gifting with our well-received lines of limited edition holiday merchandise.

This season, and for the first time, a Starbucks card was perhaps the nation’s single most frequently given holiday gift, with one in 10 U.S. adults receiving a Starbucks card and $2 million worth of our exclusive first-ever steel Starbucks card selling out on Internet luxury goods retailer Gilt.com in only, believe it or not, six minutes.

The Americas segment comp store sales increased 7%, driven by a 4% increase in traffic. Within the American segment, our U.S. business delivered revenue growth of 9% and and outstanding comp growth of 7%, driven largely by increased food and beverage sales and robust holiday activity, driven by significant robust traffic.

The U.S. remains a market rife with growth opportunity for Starbucks, and we will profitability capitalize on this opportunity by adding 1,500 new stores in the U.S. market and renovating thousands of existing stores in a locally relevant, energy efficient, and environmentally responsible way over the next five years.

Roughly 60% of our new U.S. stores will be drive-through locations. Drive-throughs create incremental revenues and profits compared to traditional stores, and represent a fast-growing, highly profitable format for Starbucks, comprising just over one-third of our U.S. company-operated stores, but contributing nearly 45% of our U.S. retail profit. And we are investing in this high-margin store format with innovations that will further elevate the customer experience, our brand, by enhancing drive-through efficiency and consistency of service.

Since our acquisition of La Boulange, we’ve been testing in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we continue to see an opportunity to exceed plan and drive incremental food sales and attachment. With the 40 Starbucks test stores currently carrying the La Boulange bakery assortment, we’re experiencing a lift in both pastry and total food sales, and we are on plan to introduce the La Boulange bakery assortment to the Starbucks stores throughout the Bay Area and in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City in fiscal 2013.

Starbucks’ China and Asia-Pacific segment now spans 12 countries, that by the end of fiscal 2013 will grow to nearly 4,000 stores, including 1,000 stores in Japan and 500 in Korea. China-Asia Pacific continued to deliver in Q1, with a strong 11% increase in comp store sales marking our 12th consecutive quarter of double digit comps in that region.

We started our journey in China with our first store in Beijing in 1999, and in Q1 we celebrated the opening of our 100th store in that extraordinary city. China remains Starbucks’ most significant market opportunity in this region, and is well on its way to becoming our second-largest global market in 2014. Today we are proud to operate over 700 stores in mainland China, and we are on plan to have 1,500 Starbucks stores in over 70 cities across China in 2015.

In India, we continue to be awed by the overwhelming customer response to our first four stores in Mumbai, and are eagerly anticipating the opening of our first store in Delhi next month. And in early February, we will open our first Vietnam store in Ho Chi Minh City.

I was in the region last week, and saw firsthand the execution against the turnaround of our EMEA segment, and it’s well underway. We are driving increased customer and brand relevancy and at the same time, we are updating our growth model for this segment, and we’re beginning to see tangible benefits of these initiatives.

In fact, despite the worst economic retail climate in decades, and one that has been disproportionately impacting high-end retailers, I’m proud to share with you that Starbucks’ retail transactions in the EMEA region increased in Q1 compared to Q1 of fiscal 2012.

Building connections and providing our customers with a meaningful value proposition also continued to be among our top priorities across this region. Towards those ends, in Q1 we successfully launched the Starbucks card and the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program in Germany, and introduced promotions including our holiday beverage lineup and “12 Days of Gifting” throughout the region, all of which were well-received and contributed to our success in the quarter.

Licensing will be the centerpiece of our approach to growth and long term profitability in EMEA, and in Q1 we continued to see the strategy play out successfully. At quarter’s end, we had over 1,000 licensed stores in the region, up 12% from a year ago, and we are seeing fantastic customer response and increasing customer demand and acceptance as we extend our retail footprint beyond the high street.

Starbucks’ business outside of the U.K. and Continental Europe, where we currently operate nearly 500 stores, continued to thrive in Q1, with strong comp growth in key markets including the Middle East, Turkey, and Russia, with our long term, 15-year partner, Alsea.

We opened a stunning new 45,000 square foot flagship store in the Kuwait Avenues mall that celebrates local design culture and offers a truly unique premium coffee experience in the region’s first Clover and Starbucks Reserve coffee selections.

In Russia, we entered St. Petersburg, our first city outside of Moscow, and the stores are performing ahead of plan, demonstrating once again the strength, the relevancy, and unique appeal of the Starbucks brand across the region. We remain committed to creating a long term, sustainable and profitable business across EMEA and our solid performance in Q1 gives us confidence that we are very much on track to fulfilling that commitment.

Our channel development and our emerging brands team is bringing significant innovation to the coffee, tea, and health and wellness categories. Jeff will be joining us later in the call to discuss several exciting developments in this segment in detail, so I’ll just touch on a few highlights.

In September, as you well know, we launched the revolutionary Verisimo system by Starbucks online, and in October we extended distribution to include nearly 2,000 specialty retailers and over 4,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S. We intentionally limited distribution to a select subset of specialty retailers to establish the brand at the high end in the marketplace.

Going forward, we will drive adoption through a combination of pod and machine innovation and selective retail expansion throughout 2013. To date, well over 1 million customers have had the opportunity to sample a high-quality Starbucks latte or brewed coffee made with the Verisimo machine at one of our many product demonstrations at either a specialty retailer or a Starbucks store.

With more than 150,000 Verisimo machines sold since launch, Verisimo is off to an exceptional start as we build, enhance, and expand what we are confident will be a multi-billion dollar premium single-serve platform in the months and years ahead.

At the same time, single-serve and VIA sales in Q1 were fueled by a number of popular new introductions, including Starbucks Peppermint Mocha VIA, Pumpkin Spice VIA, and VIA Refreshers, as well as Anniversary Blend K-cups and Christmas Blend K-cups. Jeff will speak more about momentum and opportunities in our single-serve business in a moment.

On December 31, we closed our highly strategic acquisition of premium tea brand Teavana, making Teavana, a wholly owned subsidiary of Starbucks and the newest addition to our emerging brand portfolio. Together with our new partner at Teavana, Starbucks will apply and leverage our deep knowledge of retail operations, beverage development and preparation, and our social and digital media loyalty card and mobile expertise to attract more customers to Teavana stores.

And we will expand Teavana’s current 300-store footprint from largely mall-based stores to urban street locations, where Starbucks obviously has very strong capabilities and ultimately we will reinvent the tea category, just as we did the coffee category 40 years ago.

Teavana is the perfect complement to Starbucks’ current billion dollar plus Tazo brand, and will enable us to further extend our leadership position in the $40-billion global tea market. Earlier this quarter, we opened our first Tazo retail store in Seattle to serve as a learning laboratory and help us understand everything from what types of hand-crafted tea beverages customers wanted to see from us, to help us to create a meaningful and differentiated retail tea experience for customers. Our plans are to apply all of these learnings to our Teavana rollout in terms of the success and enduring opportunities we have for that company.

In the health and wellness space, Evolution Fresh is leading innovation and development of the cold crafted juice category. Since our acquisition of Evolution Fresh, we’ve redesigned the packaging, strengthened the brand positioning, and created four retail conceptual stores. And today, we’re seeing growth in our Evolution Fresh business across the board.

Coffee will always be at the very core of Starbucks’ business, and our commitment to innovating and growing our share of the global coffee market is unwavering. Starbucks’ Blonde Roast is an example of this commitment. In response to customer demand for super-premium coffee with a lighter note, we introduced Blonde Roast one year ago, and today Blonde is driving growth across all channels and Starbucks has emerged as a leader in the $1 billion light coffee segment.

Sales of packaged Blonde Roast were 70% incremental at Starbucks retail stores, and 79% incremental in grocery channels in the last year. And we are continuing to find new ways to reach customers who prefer a lighter roast, with Vanilla Blonde, our first hand-crafted brewed coffee offering in our retail stores, as we speak today.

In response to strong customer demand, we are also continuing to expand availability of our rare and exotic Starbucks Reserve coffees, and are on track to increase the number of stores offering Starbucks Reserve by approximately 200 in fiscal 2013. Our customers love our reserve Starbucks offerings, as demonstrated by the fact that a very rare Costa Rica Geisha Reserve coffee offered online in early December at $40 per half pound sold completely out in 24 hours.

We look forward to adding more rare and exotic coffees to our unique Starbucks Reserve lineup for our customers to savor in the months ahead as we reaffirm, day in and day out, our leadership position in all things coffee.

Another very significant Q1 highlight was the continued growth and success of our digital business and mobile initiatives. Starbucks digital strategy is, and will remain, a key driver of our increasingly global business as we leverage all of our proprietary capabilities and connect with more customers all around the world in the future.

Our Starbucks card is more popular than ever today, accounting for 25% of U.S. tender, and an increasing portion of Starbucks card transactions and sales are being paid by using our mobile payment apps, with mobile payments now accounting for nearly 20% of overall card transactions. Over 7 million customers now use one of our mobile payment apps, translating into 2.1 million mobile payment transactions each week, with hundreds of thousands of additional Starbucks mobile app downloads each week.

In terms of what happened in holiday in Starbucks card, I must say it was stunning and almost unbelievable. Our Starbucks card had its best holiday season in history, as measured by any metric, with more than $1 billion loaded during Q1, the most ever loaded onto any kind of Starbucks card. Mobile e-gifting also delivered record holiday results, with the most popular days for e-gifting being Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

With performance enhanced by the integration of our mobile strategies and our unique ability to send messages directly to our customers’ mobile in-boxes. And our ecommerce sales also broke holiday records, as revenues doubled and we offered online sales in Canada, the U.K., Germany, and France for the first time.

We’re very excited about the strong customer response and tremendous future opportunities presented by the integration of our mobile, web, card, and loyalty program strategies. The combination of these capabilities enabled us to accelerate growth in our My Starbucks Rewards program. And this is another unique fact, in which we added 1.4 million members in Q1 of 2013, an 86% increase over the 778,000 new members we had in Q1 of last year.

I’m very pleased that our My Starbucks Rewards program was recently named the “Mobile Program of the Year” by Mobile Marketer, an award that reflects Starbucks’ focus on innovation and driving customer engagement.

As our Q1 results demonstrate, the momentum we’ve built throughout 2012 carried through holiday and into Q1 in 2013, but we are just getting started, and only beginning to see the benefits of the convergence of our retail, CPG, and social and digital media initiatives.

Think about this. We had 86% more customers sign up for a My Starbucks Rewards card in the first quarter of 2013 than in the first quarter of 2012. And it’s not that these new card customers didn’t know where to find us last year. It’s that we are more deeply connected, and even more relevant, to them than any other time in our history. And we can very accurately anticipate the increased traffic and revenue that will flow from the accelerating card acceptance and activity, which we’ve already seen in calendar Q1.

We remain committed to attaining leadership in the single-serve category, and I can tell you today that with Verisimo we are in the nascent stage of building a multi-billion dollar platform for Starbucks over the long term. And we are in it for the long term. We will achieve our goals around single serve by leveraging the full power of the Starbucks brand and our unique partner, digital, and global store footprint assets in continuing to expand our distribution channels.

But more importantly, we will continue to innovate and to transform the premium single serve category while continuing to surprise and delight our customers along the way. Look for some very exciting innovations to come this very year.

I’ll now turn the call over to Jeff Hansberry, who will take you through the Q1 results of our channel development segment, and share additional detail around what’s to come in this dynamic growth area for our company. Jeff?

Jeff Hansberry

Thank you, Howard, and good afternoon everyone. I’m pleased to join you on the call today to discuss Q1 results for channel development in emerging brands, as well as give you some additional insight into what’s coming in the quarters and years ahead.

Channel development revenue in our first fiscal quarter grew 13% to $380 million. It was the highest revenue quarter we’ve ever had, led by continued growth of K-cups, the first stages of launching our Verisimo platform, and continued growth in roast and ground coffee.

Our top to bottom line translation was also very good in Q1. We grew profit twice as fast as sales in the quarter, even after a significant investment in Verisimo. Operating margin expanded by 230 basis points in Q1, up to 25.5%. Favorable coffee-related costs, along with continued strength in our North American coffee partnership, helped to fuel the growth.

Our partnership with Pepsi is thriving, and we plan to grow Starbucks’ share of the massive ready-to-drink category with the expansion of Starbucks Refreshers beverages, the introduction of our new line of Starbucks iced coffee in a new, iconic single-serve glass bottle, which is rolling out as we speak in select U.S. markets.

We will have national presence by April, just in time for the warmer months. But know that nearly 50% of iced coffee drinkers actually enjoy iced coffee year round. We will now be very well-positioned to serve the rapidly expanding demand for iced coffee in the U.S. In fact, now, one in five beverages sold in Starbucks retail stores is a cold coffee beverage.

Turning our attention to other coffee formats, I want to discuss the premium single cup category and the recent milestones achieved across our product lines. VIA Ready Brew continues its solid performance, growing 16% in the food, drug, and mass space in the quarter. VIA Refreshers has been available and very popular in retail stores over the past six months, and we’re excited to make them available at CPG beginning this quarter.

K-cups were the largest contributor to channel development revenue in Q1, as we sold more than 175 million cups across the company in the quarter. And then there is Verisimo, which saw strong retail support and customer interest, with more than 150,000 machines sold across all channels since launch.

Q1 marked the beginning of what we expect will be a significant and sustained expansion of Verisimo in the quarters and years to come. We will expand distribution, adding both new doors and new countries to the platform. We will add new products, including many Starbucks favorite beverages across coffee, tea, and more to the platform. And we will add new machines, with additional functionality and style elements that will help us to drive adoption of the platform.

Rolling all of this up, in the U.S. food, drug, and mass channels in the past 13 weeks, we have grown our total premium coffee business by 28% versus prior year. That’s 11% faster than total U.S. premium coffee category, and nearly four times faster than the entire U.S. coffee category.

As a result, we have grown our share of the total U.S. coffee category to 12.6%, 220 basis points higher than a year ago. And encouragingly, as our internal analytics and these numbers suggest, we are seeing little cannibalization of our roast and ground coffee from our success in premium single cup.

The expansion of Starbucks Blonde Roast, now in its second year, will be one of the growth drivers of packaged coffee going forward. This growth will be supported by marketing in our retail stores, through our social and digital channels, and through our biggest-ever multichannel marketing and demonstration campaign in CPG, starting this month. It is truly our blueprint for growth in action, and will introduce millions of potential new Starbucks customers to Blonde Roast.

Beyond Blonde Roast, we will introduce new varieties of K-cups later this year, and as mentioned earlier, new varieties of Verisimo pods as well.

Now I’d like to talk about the new organization that we have just finished building, branded solutions. This organization combines the capabilities of food service with our expertise in licensed stores, allowing us for the first time to create a single one-voice solution to reach our customers across a number of channels, from hotels to offices to colleges to hospitals.

Now, each development manager can present an account or prospective account with a full portfolio of offerings, including Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, Tazo, and Evolution Fresh, and provide a complete solution, from a food service and licensed store perspective, all supported by one relationship management, all supported by a high-quality Starbucks experience for the customer. It is a breakthrough that will come to life in 2013.

The next significant growth engine in the emerging brand portfolio is tea, which is fueled by both Tazo and Teavana. The Teavana acquisition closed on December 31, and we are embarking on the next chapter of a journey that we believe will reinvent the way the world enjoys tea, just as Starbucks did decades ago for coffee.

By the end of the year, we expect to add over 30 new Teavana stores, including the opening of our first neighborhood store, which will combine both an expanded hand-crafted tea experience with merchandise and loose tea. Down the road, we intend to offer an enhanced range of hand-crafted beverages into our mall-based stores as well.

In the near term, our priorities are integrating the company and employees, now our partners, sharing and learning about each company’s respective culture and importantly, maintaining our focus on delivering our plan for the balance of the year.

While it has been less than four weeks since the acquisition closed, our integration work makes us as excited as ever about the opportunity, and we’ll share more details as we move along.

Tazo continues to perform in the super premium packaged tea space, growing by over 30% across all forms in the quarter. The brand continues to be the share leader in the super premium filter bag space, with a 28.6 share in the most recent 13 weeks ended December 30, up 160 basis points from prior year.

Now, from tea to juice, where Evolution Fresh is leading the development of the $3.4 billion premium cold-crafted juice category. We continue to build the brand through a new distribution and are now in nearly 4,000 Starbucks and natural and grocery stores in the western U.S. We are on track to open our new state of the art juicery in late spring, which will further allow us to grow our plan to be in approximately 8,000 stores by the end of the year.

In closing, 2013 is off to a strong start, with much more on the horizon. We plan to continue demonstrating strong revenue growth while expanding margin. We will do it through innovation, both around new platforms and new SKUs. We’ll do it through growth of a best-in-class portfolio of existing products. We will leverage unmatched cross-channel marketing and promotional capabilities, and we will rely on the expertise and passionate commitment of the more than 5000 channel development partners around the world who continually exceed expectations.

With that, I’ll now turn the call over to Troy Alstead. Troy?

Troy Alstead

Thank you, Jeff. As Howard indicated in his opening remarks, this holiday season was Starbucks best-ever, and the proficiency with which our store partners delivered daily world-class experiences again drove record results in the Americas.

First quarter Americas revenues totaled $2.8 billion, growing 10% over last year. The largest driver of our revenue growth continues to be strong comparable store sales, which reached 7% in Q1, with a 4% lift in transactions and a 2% increase in average ticket.

In the U.S., comps mirrored those of the Americas region. Our U.S. productivity continues to climb, as we saw more transactions per labor hour this quarter than in any other quarter in our company’s history. That allowed us to [unintelligible] daily transactions per store to over 700 for the first time, as we continue to expand the capacity and grow transactions across all day parts.

Also fueling our strong comp growth were our fall promotional beverages, headlined by pumpkin spice latte, combined with our always popular holiday beverage offerings. Combined, these added more than a percentage point of comp growth.

A significant increase in food sales, and a favorable shift in food mix, as breakfast sandwiches and our improved lunch offerings continues to resonate with our customers, also added more than 1 percentage point of comp.

Verisimo contributed approximately a half point of comp in Q1, leveraging the successful demonstration and sampling efforts of our store partners.

The first quarter in the U.S. started strong and ended strong, with comp growth in December mirroring the full-quarter result. As we exited the first quarter, the momentum in the business, combined with the record volume of Starbucks cards loaded during the holiday period, is fueling early Q2 sales trends.

Comp growth in the first few weeks of January is trending consistent with the first quarter. Operating income in the Americas segment reached a record $590 million in the first quarter, while operating margin contracted 50 basis points to 20.8%.

There were a few anomalies that led to the margin contraction, including our October global leadership conference, which impacted margin by 90 basis points, increased litigation charges, which had a 70 basis point impact, and 30 basis points due to the impact of Superstorm Sandy. The phenomenal execution by departments across the region largely offset these unusual cost pressures in the quarter.

Now, in China and Asia-Pacific, a combination of solid performance form our existing store base, and rapid new store development, led to record revenue on profit. Revenue growth was 28%, an increase over last quarter’s 23% growth. A portion of this was due to comparable store sales, which grew 11%, with 8% growth in transactions and a 3% increase in average ticket. Two-year comps remained above 30%, an exceptional accomplishment considering the uncertainty that has entered parts of the region over the past year.

We saw very successful holiday promotions in many of our CAP markets, with seasonal beverages driving strong growth over the same period last year. In addition, the Starbucks card was an extremely popular item in CAP in Q1, which bodes well for the future.

Howard spoke in his comments about the success of the Starbucks card and our loyalty program globally, and in CAP these are meaningful drivers of strong comps. In fact, 29% of transactions in Thailand, and 27% of transactions in Singapore, are paid for with a Starbucks card, levels that exceed those in the U.S., where Starbucks card has been available for much longer.

And as our loyalty program expands globally, it is apparent that is relevancy is universal. In China, for instance, we already have 1.3 million My Starbucks Rewards members. Loyalty to the Starbucks brand continues to grow in this part of the world, directly contributing to our rapid top line growth.

The largest contributor to our CAP Q1 revenue growth was the addition of 125 net new stores in the quarter, and 452 net new stores over the past year. Half of these new stores are in China, where we continue to aggressively pursue high-quality, profitable real estate.

As I discussed last quarter, this [unintelligible] does have a temporary detrimental impact to operating margin, and, combined with the mix shift toward a more company operated store portfolio, accounted for more than the 50 basis point Q1 decline in CAP margin.

Partially offsetting this was lower performance-based compensation. While performance is still very strong in the region, we are lapping the first quarter of 2012, when the CAP region performed significantly better than the operating plan for that period. Profitability remains robust and continues to accelerate quickly in the region, as the $72 million of CAP operating income in the first quarter was a record, and represented 26% growth over last Q1.

In EMEA, revenue, operating income, and operating margin all expanded in the first quarter, as the team coupled solid traffic growth with continued focus on cost discipline. Record revenues of $306 million represented growth of 1% over last Q1, driven by 41% growth in licensed store revenue and 27% growth in our food service business.

As Howard stated, we continue to see strong strong growth in many of our other licensed markets, as our partnerships continue to thrive and provide a meaningful contribution to our success.

The strong growth in licensed and food service was largely offset by a decline in company-operated revenue of 4%. That reduction was due to the loss of revenue resulting from the sale of the Ireland store portfolio and U.K. airport stores to a licensed partner, and closures of unprofitable stores as part of our Q4 store portfolio optimization.

A decline in comparable store sales of 1%, driven by a 3% reduction in average ticket, also contributed.

The lower average ticket was driven by beverage mix shifts and reductions in add-on purchases such as food, suggesting a trade-down impact of consumer spending, driven by the economic challenges in the region.

Encouragingly, traffic grew by 2% in the quarter, the highest rate of traffic growth EMEA has delivered in a year, as we are seeing traction on our efforts to demonstrate that Starbucks serves the best latte on the high street.

I our largest market, the U.K., we offered pumpkin spice latte for the first time, with tremendous success. Holiday beverages had a record year across the region, and the launch of the Starbucks card, and in this past year My Starbucks Rewards, in the U.K., Germany, and other markets in this region, as well as targeted value offers, played a key role in maintaining the loyalty of our core customers.

EMEA operating income of $22 million grew by 18% over the last Q1. Operating margin expanded 110 basis points to 7.3%, the second-highest quarterly operating margin ever for EMEA, as a result of continued defocus on cost efficiencies, which drove strong leverage on our licensed stores revenue growth.

The strong first quarter results in each of our operating segments contributed toward a record-setting performance on a consolidated basis. Revenue growth of 11% led to record total net revenues of $3.8 billion in the first quarter. The growth was driven by a 6% increase in global comparable store sales, including an increase in transactions of 4% and an increase in average ticket at 2%.

This was a truly outstanding holiday season around the globe. Consolidated operating income grew 13% to a record $631 million in the first quarter. As I mentioned during the Americas discussion, there were a few unusual items impacting the quarter’s results, which had an unfavorable 140-basis point impact on consolidated operating margin.

However, strong sales leverage, and to a lesser extent the expected 50-basis point impact of favorable commodity costs, more than offset the unusual cost pressures, driving consolidated operating margin higher by 40 basis points to 16.6%.

We also set a record for earnings per share in the first quarter, growing 14% to $0.57. Our earnings include two additional unusual items of note. We reported a lower than usual tax rate in Q1 of 30.4%. As we expected, and was factored into our tax rate guidance for fiscal ’13, we recognized an $18 million benefit primarily from state income tax expense adjustments for returns filed in prior years.

Conversely, this quarter we reported a $26 million reduction over last Q1, in interest income [and other], which includes mark-to-market adjustments related to commodity hedges, unfavorable foreign currency, and decreased unrealized gains in the trading securities portfolio of our management deferred compensation plan. The impact of movement in the trading securities portfolio is offset in general and administrative expenses as the compensation plan liability fluctuates with investment performance.

Also of note, Starbucks repurchased 8 million shares of stock during the first quarter. This leaves approximately 29 million shares authorized as available for repurchase. The combination of these repurchases, along with a $0.21 per share dividend, resulted in more than $500 million returned to shareholders in the first quarter, which is more than the first three quarters of last year combined.

It was a fantastic first quarter by nearly every measure. We exited the quarter with everything squarely on track, which is why we are reaffirming our financial targets for fiscal 2013, which I announced on our Q4 FY12 earnings call in early November.

These include strong EPS growth of 15-20%, revenue growth in the range of 10-13%, global comparable store strong growth in the mid-single digits, consolidated operating margin targeted at approximately 100 basis points, 1,300 net new stores globally, capital expenditures totaling approximately $1.2 billion, and a tax rate of 33%.

One item not factored into our targets, but worthy of mention, is the pending [craft] arbitration ruling. While there has been no ruling or resolution yet, and no change for expectations, we do anticipate resolution later in the second quarter.

This was the best holiday season and first quarter in the history of Starbucks, setting the stage for another strong year. The record results of the first quarter once again demonstrate our ability to drive growth in revenue and earnings in the current quarter while planting the seeds for growth into the future.

Our store partners are delivering great coffee and great experiences to our customers every day, and doing it with higher levels of productivity than ever before. We have a deep pipeline of innovative products, diverse channels and geographies for growth, and strong execution and financial discipline. We enter the second quarter with great momentum, and are well-positioned to deliver our growth targets for the year.

With that, I’d like to turn the call back over to the operator for Q&A.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator instructions.] Your first question comes from the line of John Ivankoe from JPMorgan. Your line is open.

John Ivankoe – JPMorgan

First, if we could review what your remodel strategy is for fiscal ’13, how significant that could be and what you’ve been seeing in the control sample in terms of what the performance of those stores are versus the stores that you haven’t done. And secondly, and I think it’s short, when might you have an opportunity to put Evolution products or Teavana products as part of the hand-crafted beverage line within Starbucks? I think that might be a very big opportunity for innovation around your product line. If you could discuss when that could possibly be.

Howard Schultz

I’m going to ask Cliff Burrows to speak first, to the remodel strategy, and then he’ll start the discussion about Evolution and Teavana in Starbucks stores. And then Jeff Hansberry here will be part of that discussion as well. Cliff?

Cliff Burrows

With regard to refurbishments this year, and I’ll talk specifically to the largest market of the U.S., we’ll do the same number of refurbishments plus or minus as we did last year, as I shared in December when we met in New York. Where we have done major refurbishments, we have seen significant improvement in the capacity we’ve built in that store, and the additional opportunities to introduce Clover, for example, have all seen significant lifts. And our strategy around minor refurbishments carries on as it always has done. That’s about putting the store back in a good state. So really no changes there, and if I hand it to Jeff around development of hand-crafted beverages…

Howard Schultz

Cliff, why don’t you be specific about how many stores we plan on touching in the balance of the fiscal year?

Cliff Burrows

It will be about 1,400 stores that we will cover this year, and that will be a mixture, 60-40, of minor to major. That sort of magnitude. About 500 major refurbishments this year. Jeff?

Jeff Hansberry

Thank you. So in terms of Evolution Fresh and Teavana entering Starbucks stores, as we’ve talked before, this is a critical element to our blueprint for growth strategy. And so from an Evolution Fresh standpoint, we have already started moving the Evolution Fresh brand into Starbucks stores, and in fact now we’re in over 2,400 Starbucks stores, primarily in the western U.S.

And as our new juicery comes online, that will give us additional capacity to begin to move east in this year. So we’ll continue to expand Evolution into Starbucks stores, and also into the natural and premium grocery segment as that brand continues to expand. We’ve had great results so far.

With regard to Teavana, we’re less than four weeks into the integration, but we have said all along that Teavana beverages will play a role in Starbucks stores. We’ll come back with more details in the coming quarter, as we develop that plan. But Teavana will play in Starbucks over time.

John Ivankoe – JPMorgan

And the question was really not just on ready to drink, but also the hand-crafted beverages potentially, that you could do with those sub-brands.

Cliff Burrows

I would say yes, the potential is there. Our priority is to roll out the Evolution bottled juices across the U.S. and let Jeff do his work on the integration of Teavana. More to follow on that. Nothing to show at this time.

Jeff Hansberry

I think the one last thing I’d add, John, is the key theme here is that these acquisitions and both product platforms absolutely offer us opportunity to raise drink across multiple channels and hand-crafted, and is something that in the right sequence of brand development and integration and roll out of these products, you will see us pursue those opportunities, and it’s part of what gives us confidence in our ability over multiple quarters and multiple years to continue to drive strong same-store sales growth for our system.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of David Palmer from UBS. Your line is open.

David Palmer – UBS

First question on China. It seems like your same-store sales is remarkably stable. How would you characterize the consumer environment there? And secondly, with regard to the Starbucks card loads, Howard mentioned a statistic there. I didn’t quite catch that. How much do the dollar loads grow year over year in that quarter?

Howard Schultz

John, are you on the line from Japan? Can you answer the question about China?

John Culver

Sure. First off, we’re extremely pleased with the continued momentum of our business in China, both in terms of the performance of the existing stores as well as the new store growth that we’re seeing. And as I said, more and more of our growth is coming from the new store base, and less so from comp sales.

Our comp sales have remained strong, and when you look at it on a two-year basis, comps are in the mid-30s. And on a three-year basis, comp sales are up into the 60s. So we feel very good about what’s happening with the consumer as it relates to the Starbucks brand. There’s no doubt that you’ve seen some shift with other businesses and other companies in China.

But for us, our traffic in our stores remains very strong, our transaction growth continues to grow. The card, in terms of the adaptation of the Starbucks card, we’re now at 1.4 million customers. And that continues to accelerate, and that’s just over a year old. And we continue to be very encouraged about the innovation that we’re bringing into our stores, the way that the customers are reacting to that, and how they’re embracing the Starbucks experience.

Jeff Hansberry

And Dave, to your question about the Starbucks card, there was a 25% increase in Starbucks card value loaded in the first quarter over the prior year. What’s critical about that is that clearly is a very strong level [unintelligible] sell, significantly outpaces the growth in the overall business, and is exactly a harbinger for that future growth as those values loaded not only introduce new customers onto the platform but deepen the loyalty, create that frequency opportunity as we move through the balance of this year and into the future.

Howard Schultz

I would just add that I believe that we are in the nascent stage of being able to leverage and integrate social, digital, mobile, our investment with Square, and the loyalty program into a very significant and robust opportunity going forward. And the question that was asked about Teavana in terms of products, you know, at some point there’s a natural opportunity as part of the integration to take those assets, drive incremental traffic into Teavana, benefitting from the ubiquity of Starbucks and the trust and loyalty in that program.

Operator

[Operator instructions.] Your next question comes from the line of Sharon Zackfia from William Blair. Your line is open.

Sharon Zackfia - William Blair

I had a follow up question on China. It looks like the rate of investment in the stores continues to accelerate beyond the revenue growth in the company on units. I was just wondering, what are you doing in the stores that’s obviously facilitating great same-store sales. But if you can give us some sort of insight into the investment you’re putting in those four walls, as that store operating expense continues to ramp.

Howard Schultz

John, would you speak to the investment trend?

John Culver

Sure. Sharon, I think it’s important that the investments that we’re making are going to set the foundation for the future in terms of the success of the stores, and of the market overall. So when you look at the investments we’re making it’s obviously in the stores themselves, but more so from a people standpoint, in terms of ramping up the people, capability, that we’re going to need to staff the new stores. And so with that, we’re bringing on people, we’re bringing them into existing stores, and we’re training them to take over and run the new stores that we’re opening.

In addition, the investments that you’re also seeing in the stores have to do with the investments we’re making around the design and how they are adapting into the local architecture, and making sure that we’re differentiating ourselves in the marketplace in terms of the third place environment that we’re creating for our customers.

So when you look at this, we are making the investments that we need to sustain the growth for the long term. I think what we’re seeing is that the investments we’re making in our people is paying off in terms of the experience that we’re able to provide our customers, the speed that we’re able to put them through the stores, and just the connection that we’re able to build with them.

And then the investment that we’re making from a physical store perspective is creating that third place environment that our customers want to come to, be a part of, and to experience overall.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Joe Buckley from Bank of America. Your line is open.

Joe Buckley - Bank of America

Can you comment on coffee costs year over year? Just what that cost looked like year over year this quarter, and what it might look like in coming quarters? And also could you fill out a little more on the 13% growth in the channel’s development category? Food service obviously less, CPG more. And just talk about the components of that growth, and whether the lower coffee costs play a role in maybe restraining that revenue growth a bit.

Troy Alstead

Sure. I’ll speak to coffee costs and then I’ll hand it to Jeff to talk about channel development growth. First, with regard to coffee, as we expected, we had approximately a net $0.02 per share benefit from commodities this quarter. That includes favorability in coffee, and then moderate unfavorability in dairy and a couple of other smaller commodities in our portfolio. So about $0.02 a share. Again, that’s expected. That is 50 basis points to the total operating margin improvement in the first quarter.

And I expect about that same $0.02 per share benefit from net commodity each quarter over the balance of the year. And again, that’s all consistent with our previous targets. As we have discussed in the last few months, that amounts to about a net $100 million benefit to this fiscal year and given what we have lost in terms of pricing in fiscal ’14 and also what we see in the coffee markets right now, we expect a similar level of $100 million benefit as we approach fiscal ’14. So at least a couple of years of commodity tailwinds ahead of us.

Jeff, can you speak to channel development growth?

Jeff Hansberry

With regard to channel development, as you noted, we grew at 13% in the first quarter. We continue to see positive growth ahead of retail average in channel development. Our packaged coffee business overall, when you look at premium single cup, as well as roast and ground, we’re seeing significant growth in the quarter from an IRI standpoint. From a food service standpoint, less so. We’re still growing faster than the food service segment, which is a material piece of our business. But that segment continues to grow more slowly than the balance of the category.

Joe Buckley - Bank of America

And Jeff, do all the coffee costs play into that revenue growth in one way or another?

Jeff Hansberry

Well, we’re continuing to see a lot of competition in the marketplace, but we think we are well-positioned to continue to grow our share and our business.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of David Tarantino from Robert W. Baird. Your line is open.

David Tarantino - Robert W. Baird

Troy, I have a question on the guidance for 2013, with respect to the margins. Up 100 basis points. Relative to what you reported in Q1, which was up 40, but you had quite a bit of unusual cost items in there. So I guess why wouldn’t the 100 basis points be on the conservative side as you look at not having some of those unusual cost items in the coming quarters, or are there some potential offsets that maybe I’m not thinking about?

Troy Alstead

David, I appreciate your confidence in our ability to drive profit as we go forward. I would say that 40 basis points of improvement in the first quarter, and yes, that was net of some unusual pressures in this quarter. We believe that the guidance we have, which that 100 basis point improvement for the full year corresponds to the 15-20% earnings growth that we’ve targeted, and that I believe we’re right on track for.

So I think with the investments we’re making to drive the business, continued investments across our new growth platforms of La Boulange, of Verisimo, of Evolution Fresh, while we are delivering quarterly earnings just as we did in Q1, we continue to lay that foundation for growth next year and the year after.

And it’s been that equation that this works so well for us and that we intend to navigate as we go through the rest of the year. So I think the guidance we have is remarkable in this environment and feel very confident in our ability to deliver against it as we approach Q2 and onward.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Keith Siegner from Credit Suisse. Your line is open.

Keith Siegner – Credit Suisse

Troy, could you possibly remind us about the planned marketing spend, maybe as a percentage of sales for the year, how that compares year over year? And then maybe the quarterly cadence? Was 1Q with the Verisimo launch above the annual spend, and Q2 with Blonde is that above 1Q and above the full year? Any details on that would be very helpful. Thanks.

Troy Alstead

Sure. The marketing spend in this first quarter was a little higher than 4% of sales, which for Starbucks and our history is extremely high, perhaps among the highest we’ve ever recorded in any one particular quarter. And as we talked about, I think, dating all the way back to July when we first [announced] our initial guidance, that’s really primarily driven in this quarter by the launch of the Verisimo platform and our investment against that, knowing that’s a multiyear platform and proposition for us, and we wanted to set it off on the right foot.

As we progress through the balance of the year, I don’t expect marketing spend as a percentage in any quarters to be at that same level as higher than 4%. So I expect it will be in the 3.5% to 4% range as we progress through the second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter. Fairly consistent throughout the year as we approach introducing the customer and providing those messages to first Blonde and then other product platforms as we go throughout the year.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of John Glass from Morgan Stanley. Your line is open.

John Glass – Morgan Stanley

First, if I could just clarify, is channel development, the 13% growth we’re seeing this quarter, is that representative roughly of the growth we should expect throughout the balance of the year? Or is there something you think materially changes that trajectory? I just wanted to clarify that from a previous question.

And in EMEA, you talked about the average check declining. What reverses that? I think you explained it has something to do with trade-down. Is this the first quarter you’ve actually seen declines in average check there? Or has that been going on subtly, and it’s just more exaggerated this quarter?

Troy Alstead

Thanks, John. This will be a good opportunity for us to ask Michelle Goss, our president of EMEA, to jump in. She’s calling in from London. Michelle, can you speak to average ticket in the region?

Michelle Goss

Absolutely. You know, I would say first off that we were really pleased and proud with our results for the quarter, seeing the kind of both revenue growth, especially in our licensed channel, which is our key focus and strategy going forward. Importantly, the margin expansion that Troy spoke to, despite the significant headwinds that continue to face the European customer. And then further, actually seeing transactions plus customer count growth of 2% for the quarter, and seeing that across our market. So again, given the headwinds, we’re very, very pleased with that result.

We did see a deeper erosion of ticket than we have been experiencing, so your question is relevant. And we saw it especially with everything happening on the retail high street, the downturn there, particularly acute pressure with consumers in our European markets. We’re not, by the way, seeing that same pressure play out outside of Europe. It really is focused on the U.K. and Europe.

And we have continued focus, both in keeping our customers coming through loyalty programs, through relevant value, and then also working on increasing our food attach through food innovation programs and of course that beverage trade-down, focusing customers on our great assortment of beverages. We saw great response, as Troy mentioned, on pumpkin spice. Right now we’re experiencing great customer demand on our innovation vanilla spice. And those initiatives will help us prop up our ticket.

So it is a focus, but job number one is to keep our loyal customers, and keep that customer count growing. Thank you.

Troy Alstead

I think Jeff can speak to the follow up on CPG growth?

Jeff Hansberry

With regard to channel development growth of 13% in Q1, while we don’t offer specific guidance on individual businesses, we expect that channel development will continue to grow at a rate faster than our average retail growth. Importantly, we have a number of initiatives that we’re working against, and building. Everything from Evolution Fresh to our continued expansion of K-cups, to new flavors and SKUs in the VIA lineup. And importantly, we will continue to invest and grow and build over time the business that’s in its very nascent stage that is Verisimo.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Jeffrey Bernstein from Barclays. Your line is open.

Jeffrey Bernstein – Barclays

Just two quick questions, the first one just on the Verisimo, I guess as a follow up. And you talk about the launch in the holidays going well. I think you said 150,000. Just wondering if you can talk a little bit about how that tracked versus your expectation. Obviously it was a heavy investment quarter for it. But do you think there’s obviously some time for this to build with the replacement cycle around Keurig? I’m just wondering kind of the early feedback on Verisimo and your outlook for growth over the next number of quarters.

And then separately, Troy, if you could just comment, I think the share repurchase I think you mentioned was 8 million shares, which would be roughly $400 million for the quarter. I’m just wondering if you could frame that in terms of your thoughts on cash usage for fiscal ’13, whether it be between [repo] and maintaining the dividend, versus capex, and whether we should assume that first quarter share purchase was an anomaly, or that type of run rate would be sustained.

Howard Schultz

Can I just start with an overall strategy about single-serve and Verisimo, and Jeff, you can take it from there if it’s okay with you. I think it’s very important that you all understand that we are deeply, deeply committed to becoming the leader in this space domestically and internationally. We have plotted out a multiyear strategy about Verisimo and an overall single-serve platform that will include multiple layers of innovation in the years to come.

We feel very strongly that what Verisimo demonstrated this holiday season was a great success for us. It met our expectations. We learned a great deal. We also saw a fair amount of discounting from our competitors in the market as a result of our entry, and the fact that we disrupted the market in the middle of the holiday season.

The leverage and the asset that we have in our stores to both demonstrate, inform, and ultimately sell single-serve platform machines is an asset that is proprietary and nobody has, and we will continue to utilize that to our advantage.

The other thing that I think is worth saying is that we already are seeing customers come back with the opportunity to merchandise and sell them pods as a result of Verisimo being in 150,000 households. So we’re already seeing an opportunity for incrementality there and we’ll be adding more SKUs that are proprietary to Starbucks coffee.

And so our commitment, our interest, our motivation to build on single-serve and build on Verisimo is 100% and we are going to maintain a high level of commitment and investment in this, where we are going to be the global leader. Jeff?

Jeff Hansberry

Exactly. In that first, our sales during our very first holiday, with a brand new to the world platform, were well in line with our expectations. And importantly, we started with a very curated small set of stores. So a select set of specialty retailers and a select set of Starbucks retail stores.

And for us, we are not only encouraged by the customer response, but also the trade traction that has been created by a number of retailers who want to play on the platform, which we have not made available to them as yet.

So there are really three things that are going to be growth drivers for Verisimo as we step forward. First, and importantly, the innovation itself. It’s the first and only machine that does brewed coffee, espresso, and lattes. And that message got through to customers during the holiday.

And secondly, as we add innovation to the system, whether it’s through additional coffees, additional espressos, additional Starbucks latte and seasonal favorite beverages, as well as tea, that will add to increase the interest in the platform.

And then finally, from a machine standpoint, we have a pipeline, to Howard’s point, multi years of machine innovation, that adds new features, new styles, new functionality, to a whole series of machines that we will be introducing.

So again, and importantly, this is just the very first step in what will be a multiyear growth driver, significant growth driver, in the channel business and for Starbucks overall.

Troy Alstead

To your question about share repurchases, we’re fortunate that the very strong cash flow of our business enables us to have the dividend, and we’ve accelerated that dividend, as you know, each year since we’ve initiated it.

And also, share repurchases. We repurchased 8 million shares in the quarter. Our repurchase program is very valuation and conservatively valuation based. So our repurchases in any particular quarter are very opportunistic, based both on, again, what we see in the market and the valuation.

And also, from time to time, where and when we as a company might be blacked out of the market, and that is frequent given various activities going on. So in any particular quarter, our share repurchase activity will be somewhat lumpy, again just based on those factors.

I would say our priority spend of cash for the balance of the year, and really every year, continues to be first and foremost investing back into the business. That’s in our partners, in capital expenditures, in new stores and remodels. Of course, funding the dividend over time. And then based on those metrics and principles I outlined, share repurchases.

So I don’t have a prediction for you of whether that Q1 8 million shares is something that we’d repeat each quarter or not. That, again, will tend to vary quarter to quarter.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Sara Senator from Sanford Bernstein. Your line is open.

Sara Senator – Sanford Bernstein

I have a two-part question on the Americas. The first is just in terms of comps, I know you highlighted a couple of things that were drivers, some of which were new, so Verisimo, some of which have been around for a while, so food and some of your holiday beverages which are always very popular. So I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit about to what extent the loyalty, or the Starbucks card, may have added to comps. If you can measure that.

And then the other piece of this, was there anything about your mix or about any of the promotions you did that might have affected your margins? I ask only because you had some nice margin expansion on the cost of sales line, but maybe not quite as much as I would have expected given 50 basis points of commodities plus such healthy comps on which you would have seen occupancy leverage.

Troy Alstead

Let me hand it over to Cliff to speak about the comp drivers, and I think he’ll also be able to speak to cost of goods and leverage a bit. In advance of that, I would just make the one comment that the large majority of those unusual expenses that I spoke about in the quarter, the leadership conference which we had known about, and then a couple of events that we had not known about until we got into the quarter, things like Superstorm Sandy and some of the unusual litigation expenses I mentioned, were predominantly focused in the Americas P&L.

Absent those anomalies and those unusual cost pressures in the quarter, we would have been on more of our common pace of very significant and meaningful margin expansion in the quarter.

Sara Senator – Sanford Bernstein

Understood. I was just talking about the cost of sales line in particular.

Clifford Burrows

The quarter, we really saw a very healthy mix of our core beverages as well as our seasonal beverages. Very, very encouraged throughout the quarter how they performed. Our food continues to go from strength to strength, and I’m really excited about what lies ahead of us with La Boulange. The holiday season, and that is both core coffee, with our Christmas Blend, and also our gifts this year, performed exceptionally well.

If I look at day parts, we have seen growth in all day parts. The early morning growing fastest, in terms of percentage, but we continue to add more transactions at our peak time, which again is a really healthy situation to be in.

And this is a mixture. It’s coming from a mixture not only on product, but we continue to work on the operational effectiveness in stores and work we’ve shared with you before around [Lean]. So building that capacity at peak remains a priority for us.

And bringing that all together, I have to say it’s been the focus and dedication from our partners in the stores, who across the whole of the U.S. and the Americas have done an amazing job in this quarter dealing with our busiest holiday season ever.

And the card, I wouldn’t call out what percentage that’s contributing to it, but it is certainly with more people joining My Starbucks Rewards, by an increasing tender, there is definitely a much richer dialog coming along.

There is a much greater recognition between the customer and our barista, and we’re adding, as you know, this quarter, we’re adding to the customer experience through introducing names on aprons, which will be in stores by the end of January, and then phasing in names on cups in the coming months. So all of it focused on the relationship between the customer and our barista, and making it a great personal Starbucks experience.

Troy Alstead

And then Sarah, back to, specifically, your question about cost of goods, the largest impact of commodity favorability as you know comes in our channel development business. So within the Americas segment, that commodity benefit in the quarter was about 30 basis points or so to OI, perhaps a little bit higher. And so just roughly 30 basis points of benefit from commodities, total cost of goods and I can see leverage improve by about 50 basis points. I hope that gives you some context. We actually did see exactly the kind of leverage we would expect, both from commodity benefits on that cost of goods line, and then also leverage on the fixed costs from growing sales.

JoAnn DeGrande

And we will have time for one last question. And I apologize to those of you left in the queue. We will try and get back to you as soon as we can this afternoon.

Operator

Your last question comes from the line of Nicole Miller Regan from Piper Jaffray. You may ask your question.

Nicole Miller Regan - Piper Jaffray

I think you had mentioned at the analyst day something about the future of a brand-agnostic loyalty card. Can you give us an update on that? And given that you are talking about the different ways, shapes, and forms that a customer can access Starbucks today, would this require them to get a new card?

Howard Schultz

I don’t think I understood the question. Can you repeat that please?

Nicole Miller Regan - Piper Jaffray

Sure. I think there was talk at the analyst day about a channel agnostic loyalty card, so that it doesn’t matter if I get a cup of coffee this morning at a retail store or buy a pound of coffee at the grocery store is the way I originally understood the intent. That idea incentifies as a loyal, frequent Starbucks user. When you do roll that out down the road, do I have to consolidate the other cards that I might have? And I’m just wondering, since you are talking so much about gift cards and different forms of Starbucks cards and the way of processing payments and gifts and all of that, is this all going to eventually roll into one?

Howard Schultz

Well, I think you’ve asked us a question that, with respect, we don’t want to get into too deeply today. But let me try and answer without being coy in any way. Over the next few months or so, we’ll be coming back to you and sharing with you the plans that we have to take advantage of Starbucks products within CPG, and specifically grocery, and leveraging the technology and the advancement of providing value to our customers that are buying Starbucks products in grocery, and leveraging the card.

I don’t want to get into too much specificity today, only to tell you that we strongly believe that this will provide an incentive for our customers to not only buy Starbucks coffee, but integrate them even further in the Starbucks ecosystem with the card loyalty and mobile. And we are very excited about this, and we will be sharing this with you in the months and quarters ahead. This is something we believe in, and something that we are deeply committed to.

JoAnn DeGrande

That concludes our Q1 fiscal 2013 earnings conference call. We thank you all for joining us today. Have a good evening.

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