* Forecasts 2014 earnings of $1.79-$1.83/share vs est. $1.80
* Says 2014 sales expected to grow by 6-8 pct
* Fourth-quarter adjusted earnings $0.43/share vs est. $0.40
* Raises quarterly dividend to $0.23/share from $0.19
Feb 6 (Reuters) - Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc, the parent of the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins chains, reported better-than-expected quarterly results as store traffic and customer spending rose in its U.S. outlets.
Sales at established Dunkin’ Donuts outlets in the United States rose 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 28, helped by strong sales of iced coffee and breakfast sandwiches.
Dunkin’ Donuts outlets in the country account for about 75 percent of the company’s total sales.
The company forecast adjusted earnings of $1.79-$1.83 per share for 2014 and said it expected sales to grow by 6-8 percent, which translates to $756.7 million-$770.9 million.
Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $1.80 per share on revenue of $759.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
McDonald’s Corp, Dunkin’ Donuts’ top rival in the United States, recently said sales at U.S. restaurants open at least 13 months fell 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter.
Net income of Dunkin’ Brands rose to $42.1 million, or 39 cents per share, in the fourth quarter from $34.3 million, or 32 cents per share, a year earlier.
The company earned 43 cents per share on an adjusted basis.
Total revenue rose 13 percent to $183.2 million.
Analysts on average had expected a profit of 40 cents per share on revenue of $178.4 million.
Dunkin’ Brands also raised its quarterly dividend to 23 cents per share from 19 cents per share.
The company’s shares closed at $47.30 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.