Starbucks Insists Plan to Hire Refugees Has Not Backfired As Stocks Drop

Starbucks claims that boycotts for their decision to hire 10,000 refugees has not hurt sales or customer satisfaction ratings

“We did not observe any substantive impact [on the brand],” market research firm Kantar Millward Brown said in a letter released by Starbucks.

In late January, Starbucks announced their commitment to hiring 10,000 refugees over the course of five years. The backlash was almost immediate, with calls to boycott Starbucks trending in hashtags on Twitter and Facebook. But for all that hullabaloo, Starbucks is claiming that the social media campaign did nothing to tarnish their reputation, despite falling stock prices that might indicate otherwise.

"In February 2017 — after the announcement — we did not observe any substantive impact on Customer Consideration, Future Visitation Intent or Brand Perceptions or any other key performance metrics for the Starbucks brand," Brian James, president of Kantar Millward Brown, a market research firm hired by Starbucks, wrote in a letter obtained by Reuters.

Starbucks has declined to release further data to support this optimism. However, independent capital researchers have confirmed that despite the recent stocks dip, there is nothing to be worried about:

"We continue to forecast 5.5-percent Starbucks stock growth in F2H17 and FY18 versus an estimated 3.75 percent in the 12 months ending March 2017,” analyst David Palmer told Street Insider.
“We continue to believe that the slowing rate of the My Starbucks Rewards membership growth —excluding F1Q17’s improved membership growth rate — has been a top reason that Starbucks’ growth rate has slowed."

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In other words, slow Starbucks rewards programs are to blame for the market nosedive — not a promise to help refugees.