Growth rates over a long period (like three or five years) can hide important year-to-year trends. Growth may be extremely erratic, or it may be slowing down.
Indeed, Starbucks is not expanding as rapidly as it was a few years ago. The company's annual sales growth peaked at 71% in 1993, clocked in at 50% in 1996, and was less than 30% in 1999. From the company's annual report, we learn one reason for the slowdown: Same-store sales growth has dropped from almost 20% in the early 1990s to less than 10% recently. Ten percent is still pretty good, but the downward trend is not.
How Consistent Is the Company's Growth? >>