Canary in the coal mine? Starbucks brings back its Pumpkin Spice Latte at a higher price

Aug. 29, 2022 11:49 AM ETStarbucks Corporation (SBUX)MCD, DNUTBy: Clark Schultz, SA News Editor26 Comments

Starbucks Retail Coffee Store. Each year, Starbucks celebrates Fall with Pumpkin Spice Lattes.


Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) will bring back its iconic Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte on August 30 to mark the 19th year for the seasonal favorite. The drink is available hot, iced or blended at U.S. stores throughout the season while supplies last.

Amid concerns over consumer discretionary spending in the U.S., the return of Starbucks' (SBUX) PSL is being a considered a test of the pumpkin-spice economy, which is estimated at $350M to $500M in annual sales across other retail outlets with pumpkin-infused products.

Interim CEO Howard Schultz said during the last SBUX earnings call that the company was not seeing a great deal of pushback from consumers.

"We are not currently seeing any measurable reduction in customer spending or any evidence of customers trading down, reflecting the strength of the Starbucks brand, deep customer engagement and loyalty, pricing power and the premium nature of our beverage and food offerings," he noted on August 2 (read the full earnings call transcript).

That trend could be pushed a bit with the grande-sized hot PSL getting a price bump to $5.95 from $5.45 this year at some locations.

Pumpkin-watching: Krispy Kreme (DNUT) already bought back its fall drinks on August 8 and Dunkin Donuts added pumpkin-flavored drinks to its menu on August 18. McDonald's (MCD) is expected to add pumpkin latte drinks to its menu shortly.

Compare valuation and growth metrics on Starbucks, McDonald's and Krispy Kreme.

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