Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) devotees helped the cult-favorite coffee chain rake in an unprecedented $1.3 billion on its prepaid cards in the United States and Canada during the year-end holiday season.
Starbucks Corp. CEO Howard Schultz divulged the news in a memo to Starbucks store managers, thanking them for their hard work over the busy season. In the letter, Schultz called the results "nothing less than extraordinary" and urged Starbucks employees to brace for an "influx of customers" eager to use their gift cards.
"Overall, we generated over $610 million in new card activations in the holiday quarter, representing a significant increase over both last year and plan," Schultz wrote.
According to Schultz's memo, Thursday, Dec. 19 set a single day record for Starbucks, with approximately 2.4 million new Starbucks Card activations. Then, on Monday, Dec. 23, and Tuesday, Dec. 24 the company again broke the single day record on successive days.
The record-breaking figure takes into account Starbucks Cards that were activated in the final three months of 2013. The cards amount to a big advance payment to the company, and generally account for about a quarter of Starbucks sales in U.S. stores. Starbucks Cards also benefit the company's future profits since studies show that customers using pre-loaded cards tend to spend more per visit, especially if they received the card as a gift, according to retail analyst Dan Geiman.
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