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24/7 Wall St.: Best CEOs of 2012

Howard Schultz

Company: Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX)
Share price YTD: +18%

Starbucks early December announcement that it will open 3,000+ net new stores in the Americas region by 2017 and increase its penetration in China is the culmination of the comeback of Starbucks that began in 2008 when founder Schultz returned as CEO. Schultz cut 12,000 jobs and 600 stores as Starbucks entered the recession. Overexpansion and new competition, which included McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD), made some investors believe Starbucks was in a permanent retreat. More recently, however, in a little over the past year, the company has launched Refresher energy drinks, K-Cup packs, and the Verismo System — a single-serve brewing machine. Starbucks earnings show that most of these initiatives and the company’s base business are doing extremely well. For the fiscal year that ended on September 30, revenue increased 14% to hit a record $13.3 billion. EPS increased 10% to $1.79, compared to the prior year EPS of $1.62. Starbucks also opened 1,063 net new stores worldwide.

(AP Photo/ Elaine Thompson)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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