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Why Starbucks Worries About Retailers' Dwindling Foot Traffic

Why Starbucks Worries About Retailers' Dwindling Foot Traffic
Photograph by Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

What happens when more consumers shop online? They’re less likely to pop into a Starbucks on the way to the mall, and the shift in shopping behavior hits the coffee chain’s bottom line.

Starbucks posted global sales of $4.24 billion from October to December, a 12 percent increase that fell short of analysts’ projections, and the company put the blame Thursday on the dramatic expansion of online shopping over the holidays as well as weakening consumer confidence. “Holiday 2013 was the first in which many traditional brick and mortar retailers experienced in-store foot traffic give way to online shopping in a major way,” Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said in a release. Holiday foot traffic was roughly half of what it was three years earlier, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal citing ShopperTrak data.