Placer Bytes: Checking in on Dunkin’, Starbucks and Sprouts

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In this Placer Bytes, we take a look at the recent performance of Dunkin’, Starbucks, and Sprouts as they push deeper into the recovery period.

Coffee Giants

Brands like Starbucks and Dunkin’ are especially susceptible to changes like those caused by the pandemic. The breakdown of normal work/school routines can be uniquely difficult for brands that focus on fitting in within a ‘normal’ daily flow. And this makes the recoveries of both brands all the more impressive. While September did mark a step back for both, there was a clear trend of progress in recent months.

Visits to Dunkin’ and Starbucks were at their best point since the onset of the pandemic in August with visits down just 11.3% and 21.5% respectively year over year. And this was happening while California, a key state considering it makes up the most locations for Starbucks, was still lagging far behind. While visits were down 25.6% year over year nationwide for Starbucks in September, they were down 34.8% in California. Should issues there with COVID and wildfires continue to come under control, the impact for Starbucks could be very significant.

And this also gives added value to the ‘rebound’ Starbucks has seen in early October. Visits for the weeks beginning September 28th, October 5th and October 12th, were down an average of 19.8%, and should this pattern hold, the brand will see visits in October closer to 2019 levels than at any point since the onset of the pandemic. This included visits the week of October 12th being down just 17.8%, the brand’s best mark since the start of the pandemic. Dunkin’, on the other hand, is seeing visits on pace for a similar rate as September, with a marked improvement in the middle of September when visits were down as much as 21.0% year over year. And the timing is critical as both brands see a boost in the winter months.

Sprouts Back on Track?

Sprouts was enjoying a strong start to 2020 when visits took a major hit as a result of the pandemic. Yet, the brand has been recovering effectively with visits down just 5.2% and 5.4% year over year in July and August respectively. But, September did see a significant hit with visits down 13.2% – though declines were felt throughout the sector.

But perhaps most importantly, Sprouts is showing a unique ability to succeed even in difficult circumstances. California, the state with the largest number of locations, is still in the midst of significant declines, the brand’s price point is higher and it is not seen as a one-stop-shop grocer. Yet, after seeing visits down an average of 10.3% the weeks beginning September 14th, 21st and 28th, they were down just 4.8% and 6.4% the weeks of October 5th and 12th respectively. This not only indicates that the September dip will be short-lived, but that Sprouts is able to drive engagement even when the odds are against it.

Will the winter months provide the country’s top coffee brands a boost? Can Sprouts continue its turnaround? Visit Placer.ai to find out.

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