Image: Starbucks store
Michael Conroy  /  AP
Customers drink coffee inside a Starbucks store in downtown Indianapolis on Wednesday. The coffee chain says its profit more than tripled over a year earlier.
updated 1/20/2010 4:51:59 PM ET 2010-01-20T21:51:59

Caffeine lovers visited Starbucks Corp. more often — and spent more money when they did — during its fiscal first quarter, the world's largest coffee chain said Wednesday, more than tripling its profit.

The Seattle company that made grande and venti household words earned $241.5 million, or 32 cents per share, for the three months that ended in late December. During the same period last year, its profit was $64.3 million, or 9 cents per share.

Starbucks' revenue rose 4 percent to $2.72 billion, up from $2.62 billion.

"It was really excellent," CFO Troy Alstead told The Associated Press in an interview. "You hear us always say we're never done. But we're extremely pleased with the progress we've made."

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Starbucks to earn 28 cents per share on revenue of $2.65 billion.

The chain said its sales in stores open at least a year, considered a key restaurant measure, rose 4 percent for the quarter after two years of steady declines.

Starbucks shares climbed in after-hours trading after the results were released, rising 71 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $23.99. Its stock closed at $23.29 in regular trading.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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