Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Why Did Anyone Believe The Luckin Coffee Numbers In The First Place?

Perhaps not going to challenge Starbucks now….

Luckin Coffee has imploded like one of those Chinese let’s float the company on Nasdaq implodey things. Even the company has admitted that the COO was entirely making up the numbers for sales growth. Purely plucking from air he was.

The Chairman and CEO seem to have left their large chunks of stock as security with the banks that lent them $500 million and change on the strength of the stock as security.

Quite what, and exactly, happened is going to be an interesting tale. Although as with such adventures as Sino-Forest detailed reports tend not to get released when big important banks were among those caught out.

The thing which gets me is why did anyone believe even the numbers that were being offered?

But now look at the revenues again

From that report:

Total net revenues from products in the quarter were RMB1,493.2 million (US$208.9 million), representing an increase of 557.6% from RMB227.1 million in the same quarter of 2018.

Hey, really cool growth. But they had near 4,000 stores. And that’s revenue over 90 days. Revenue per store per day is under $600.

Hey, sure, this is China, wages are lower. Prices are too. It’s even true that gross margins on a cup of coffee are high. But someone’s claiming an operating profit on $600 per store per day?

Store level operating profit in the quarter was RMB186.3 million (US$26.1 million),


And these are the figures where they admit they’ve been lying? They’ve already agreed that sales are what, 40% lower than that. They’ve a chain of stores with average sales of what, $350 a day?

Yes, I know, China, lower costs and all that but really? There are hot dog stands in NYC that would be ashamed of that revenue.

People were thinking, from the stock market price, that this was worth $4 billion. Seriously? $1 million a piece for a shops taking mebbe $350 a day? In revenue, not profit. A capital value per store of near 10x revenues?

From their own lying numbers, we’ve got daily turnover per store of around $350. It’s also (44 million items a month, 30 day month, 4,000 stores) around 360 items a day.

Stores selling 350 items a day at a buck each? There’s no value there.

No, what was it that people saw in it?

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Leo Savantt
Leo Savantt
1 year ago

Almost as ridiculous as the CCP’s claim that through out the whole of China there was only one additional case of Covid-19 today.

Jon Jermey
Jon Jermey
1 year ago
dodgy geezer
dodgy geezer
1 year ago

Perhaps it was sold as ‘woke’? I have noticed that many people seem to lose all rational thought whenever that word is mentioned…

1 year ago

Everything seems so easy in hindsight. But you’re a smart guy, Tim. You know math, economics, you’re OK with people making money. I’d like to see you publish a story like this except how you saw this coming and made a small fortune shorting the stock, Euro, dollar, whatever. Those are the heroes of capitalism. Still, it does make for fun reading for us prols.

1 year ago

The scammers were occupying WeWork offices when doing the fiddling.

11 months ago


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