By Martinne Geller
April 25 Starbucks Corp reported higher
quarterly profit on Thursday that matched Wall Street estimates
and it raised its full-year earnings forecast.
The world's biggest coffee chain cited increased sales in
the United States, its top market, despite an industry-wide
spending downturn in February due to a U.S. payroll tax increase
that lowered take-home pay.
Revenue was slightly below analysts' estimates and the
company's shares fell nearly 3 percent in after hours trading.
They had gained nearly 3 percent in the last five days and
nearly 12 percent year to date, fueled by expectations of strong
"While there's been some choppiness that others have been
reporting out there, I think what's remarkable about our results
is the steadiness of our (same-store sales) growth in the U.S.
for example," Starbucks Chief Financial Officer Troy Alstead
said in an interview.
Sales at stores open at least 13 months, or same-store
sales, rose 6 percent globally.
In the U.S.-dominated Americas region, which contributes
about 75 percent of Starbucks' revenue, same-store sales rose 6
percent. That included gains of 5 percent in the number of
transactions and 2 percent in the amount spent per visit. The
components add up to 7 due to rounding.
Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix were expecting increases
of 6.2 percent for the Americas and 6.1 percent overall for
Starbucks' company-owned stores.
Same-store sales rose 8 percent for China and Asia Pacific
and fell 2 percent for the Europe, Middle East and Africa
Seattle-based Starbucks is a destination for relatively
affluent consumers with extra money to spend on premium drinks
such as lattes and mochas. As a result, it has been more
resilient to dips in consumer spending such as the February
pullback prompted by the increase in U.S. payroll taxes.
ITG restaurant analyst Steve West said Starbucks is almost a
victim of its own success.
"The expectation bar keeps getting higher and higher until,
finally, you can't beat it," he said.
Starbucks said net earnings rose to $390.4 million, or 51
cents per share, in the fiscal second quarter that ended on
March 31 from $309.9 million, or 40 cents per share, a year
Excluding a 3 cent-per-share gain on the sale of its stake
in a Mexican venture, earnings were 48 cents per share, matching
analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters
Revenue rose 11 percent to $3.56 billion. Analysts were
expecting $3.59 billion.
The company said it expects earnings of $2.12 to $2.18 per
share this year, up from a prior target range of $2.06 to $2.15.
Starbucks shares fell to $59 in after hours trading from
their close at $60.50.