updated 10/16/2006 9:23:30 AM ET 2006-10-16T13:23:30

Starbucks Corp. shares soared Wednesday, even before the company announced September sales figures that trounced Wall Street estimates and also that it had opened more than 2,000 new stores in its latest fiscal year.

Shares of the world’s largest specialty coffee chain climbed $1.95, or 5.7 percent, to close at $35.96 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, its highest close since early July, then rose another $1.67, or 4.6 percent, to $37.63 in after-hours trading.

The stock has traded between $24.86 and 39.88 over the past year.

In a report after markets closed for regular trading, Starbucks said sales at stores open at least 13 months increased 6 percent for the five weeks ended Oct. 1, compared to the same period ended Oct. 2, 2005. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had predicted same-store sales would increase 3.3 percent.

In early August, Starbucks shares tumbled after the company announced its lowest monthly comparable-store sales increase in more than four years. Starbucks blamed the slowdown on long lines caused by higher-than-expected summer demand for frozen drinks in the morning hours.

For the fiscal year that ended Oct. 2, Starbucks reported $7.8 billion in revenue, up 22 percent from fiscal 2005, when it posted $6.4 billion in revenue.

During the 52 weeks ended Oct. 1, Starbucks said it opened 2,199 new stores, bringing its worldwide total to 12,440.

Jim Donald, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said this is the first time Starbucks has ended a fiscal year with the addition of more than 2,000 new stores

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