Though Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) grew its U.S. comparable-store sales by an impressive 7% in FQ3 to top peers, and has swatted away challengers before, the company could see some new competition in 2H and into 2015.
Peet's is owned by coffee brand giant Joh. A. Benckiser which directly challenges Starbucks in Europe, but has been more conservative to take on the Seattle giant in the U.S.
The development in the Windy City follows a trend in NYC of more indie coffee shops opening aside Starbucks stores. A coffee app called Cups has also launched over the summer to some positive early results.
What to watch: The westward march of Dunkin' Brands (NASDAQ:DNKN) and the potential expansion of Tim Hortons (NYSE:THI) could also be factors in the U.S. coffee market, although many analysts think the power of the SBUX brand and the continued strong demand for coffee will leave multi-channel Starbucks in solid shape.