Starbucks profit up, U.S. sales surprisingly strong

Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:52pm EDT
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By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) - Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O: Quote) on Thursday posted a bigger than expected jump in quarterly profit after new fruit "Refresher" energy drinks and seasonal Frappuccino iced beverages helped drive more visits to shops in the United States, its top market.

The world's biggest coffee chain also raised its full-year profit forecast, sending shares soaring more than 6 percent in after-hours trade.

Seattle-based Starbucks is a top destination for consumers with ample cash to spend on $3 to $5 lattes and other premium coffee drinks.

As a result, the company's rapidly expanding retail presence has helped it withstand the economic weakness that is crimping fast-food chains and other operators.

McDonald's Corp (MCD.N: Quote) and Panera Bread Co (PNRA.O: Quote) were among the chains hit by the summer swoon.

Starbucks net earnings for the fiscal third quarter that ended on June 30 increased more than 25 percent to $417.8 million, or 55 cents per share, to beat analysts' average forecast by 2 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Global sales at Starbucks cafes open at least 13 months jumped 8 percent, versus the 5.8 percent average increase analysts' expected, according to Consensus Metrix.

In the U.S.-dominated Americas region, which contributes about three-quarters of the chain's revenue, same-store sales were up 9 percent, far better than analysts' average estimate for a 6.1 percent rise.   Continued...

Coffee packs are pictured on display at a Starbucks coffee store in Pasadena, California July 25, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni