updated 8/1/2007 5:45:41 PM ET 2007-08-01T21:45:41

Starbucks Corp. said Wednesday its fiscal third-quarter profit climbed 9 percent as the world’s largest specialty coffee retailer opened 668 new stores and announced plans to continue expanding at an equally blistering pace next year.

Earnings for the three months ended July 1 rose to $158.3 million, or 21 cents per share, from $145.5 million, or 18 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Results matched Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial forecast a profit of 21 cents per share.

Revenue jumped 20 percent to $2.36 billion from $1.96 billion in the year-ago quarter, falling just short of analysts’ estimated $2.39 billion in sales.

Sales at Starbucks’ 14,396 locations around the world jumped 21 percent to $2.01 billion from $1.66 billion last year.

Same-store sales, those at stores open at least a year, were 4 percent higher than last year’s third quarter.

In June, the company warned full-year earnings could come in at the low end of its guidance for the fiscal year, in part due to rising dairy costs. The company raised drink prices by 9 cents in July, and maintained its outlook Wednesday for earnings from 87 to 89 cents per share.

The company also stuck with its forecast for same-store sales to grow from 3 percent to 7 percent.

Starbucks announced plans to open 2,600 stores in fiscal 2008, an increase of 200 from this year’s target.

The company said it expects revenue to grow about 18 percent next year, slower than this year’s predicted 20 percent growth, and for same-store sales to grow at the same rate as in 2007.

Shares of Starbucks gained 52 cents to close at $27.20.

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