June 26, 2018 / 2:59 PM / 2 years ago

BUZZ-Starbucks 'pricing itself out of the market?' asks top-rated analyst

** Sanford C. Bernstein says Starbucks’s comp store sales growth is now entirely price-driven, meaning eventually growth will have to slow

** SBUX hikes prices ~1-2 pct each yr, but brewed coffee prices have risen twice as fast, says analyst Sara Senatore, noting a Starbucks coffee costs ~38 pct more than one at Restaurant Brands

** The price hikes have come as commodity coffee prices near all-time lows, meaning Starbucks may struggle to pass through any future input price increases, says Senatore

** Estimates comp sales growth to slow to sub-2 pct in next two years (1.46 pct in FY 18 and 1.98 pct in FY 19) from 2.7 pct growth in FY 17

** Senatore is the No.1 rated analyst, among the 32 covering SBUX, for past estimates accuracy per TR StarMine

** SBUX recently posted its biggest 2-day drop in a decade on warning of slowing comp sales

** SBUX last down 0.5 pct, hitting a fresh 3-yr low, and down 12 pct YTD

Reporting by Savio D'Souza

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