Starbucks shares soar as company reveals its holiday plans

Starbucks is dialing up the holiday cheer this year, following disappointing sales last season.
Image: A coffee roaster empties freshly roasted coffee beans from the small-batch roaster at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle
A coffee roaster empties freshly roasted coffee beans from the small-batch roaster at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle, Washington.Bloomberg / Getty Images file

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By Alyssa Newcomb

Starbucks is adding a double shot of holiday cheer this year after the company admitted it didn’t do enough last year to celebrate the season.

The coffee chain’s holiday rollout begins on Friday — one week earlier than last year — and includes four new holiday-themed cups, seasonal treats, decorated stores, and baristas wearing red aprons.

“Last year, our stores didn't sufficiently reflect the festive environment our customers know and love and have come to expect from us,” Chief Operating Officer Roz Brewer told investors during an earnings call on Thursday.

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It was a banner quarter for Starbucks, largely driven by a 4 percent spike in sales in U.S. stores. Starbucks reported revenue of $6.3 billion — up 10.6 percent from this time last year. Its share price jumped 14 percent on the news.

The company hopes that momentum will continue through the holiday season. Last year, Starbucks’ holiday sales disappointed. “Holiday and merchandise did not resonate with our customers as planned,” noted Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson.

Customers who order a holiday beverage on Friday at participating Starbucks stores will receive a reusable version of the iconic red cup. That cup can be used for 50 cents off any grande holiday beverage after 2 p.m. beginning Nov. 3 and ending Jan. 7.

Starbucks has been accused of waging a “war on Christmas” by some conservatives in years past. While its four new red and green cups are non-denominational, they’re perhaps the most Christmas spirited yet, including one decked with holly.

Old holiday drink favorites will be back, including peppermint mocha and caramel brulée lattes. The two drinks will also be featured in new advertisements featuring Starbucks baristas and their families outside of their stores.

Starbucks will also have the usual holiday snacks, including snowman cookies, peppermint brownie cake pops, and holiday turkey paninis, among others. They’re also introducing new choices, including a chocolate swirl brioche, a pistachio honey croissant, and a sugarplum cheese danish.

Starbucks’ holiday campaign was met with backlash in 2015 after a viral video claimed the coffee chain “removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus.”