Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) finished the day in positive territory, as a majority of its customers seem to favor the company’s left-leaning politics.
On January 29, Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz announced that the company planned to hire 10,000 refugees to work in its stores around the world, starting in the United States with those who had provided support and acted as interpreters for U.S. troops stationed overseas. The announcement was made in response to an Executive Order by President Trump that, in part, banned refugees from entering the United States.
The announcement immediately set off a boycott by those who felt strongly that the Executive Order should be upheld. However, it seems that those customers are in a minority, for Starbucks has received significantly more support for its action. It’s worth noting that much of the support comes from the same people who had previously berated the company for not paying enough in taxes.
Still, this is not the first time Starbucks has come under fire for speaking out in favor of controversial political stances. At the company’s shareholder meeting in 2013, one member complained that Starbucks’ support of same-sex marriage had cost it customers and resulted in less profits. At the time, Schultz responded that the company did not always base its decisions upon economics, yet the company had prospered enormously.
Schultz also made it plain to shareholders that the company would always do what it thought was the right thing and, if they didn’t agree, they may want to consider selling their Starbucks shares and invest in something else.
“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”
Starbucks shares have almost doubled since then. And thought there was a brief dip in the middle of last week, the stock is nearly back where it was at the time of the announcement. Apparently, Shultz knows the demographics of his customer base very well.