Starbucks raises outlook but shares fall

Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:55pm EDT
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By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) - Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O: Quote) 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 afterhours trading. They had gained nearly 3 percent in the last five days and nearly 12 percent year to date, fueled by expectations of strong performance.

"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 region.   Continued...

Branded packaging is seen in Starbucks' Vigo Street branch in Mayfair, central London in this January 11, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/Files