Coffee chain Starbucks expects the coronavirus pandemic to reduce sales this quarter by as much as $3.2bn (€2.8bn), dragging down the brand's performance as it sees a recovery stretching into next year.
The company, which like other restaurants has had a difficult time offering guidance, said it expects to report an adjusted loss of 55 to 70 cents a share when it next releases earnings. Operating income will decline as much as $2.2bn in the period, a company statement said.
The guidance underscores the depth of the challenges for consumer-facing businesses from the coronavirus outbreak and worldwide lockdowns. The coffee seller, which is exploring new store formats to stimulate demand, is being closely watched as a barometer of customers' willingness to leave their homes and open their wallets as the pandemic subsides.
"These numbers are a lot worse than the Street was expecting," said Michael Halen, senior restaurant analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. "People expect some sort of crazy snapback but it's not going to materialise in restaurants."
Shares in the chain fell as much as 4.7pc on Wednesday, the most intraday in more than a month. Starbucks had declined 6.3pc this year through Tuesday's close.
The company says it's on track to add at least 500 new stores in China this year, despite the virus impact and plans to revamp its Canadian business.