Starbucks second-quarter profits up 18 percent

/ Source: The Associated Press

Starbucks Corp. said Thursday its fiscal second-quarter profits jumped 18 percent, as the company opened 560 new stores as part of an aggressive global expansion.

The world’s largest coffee-house chain reported net income of $150.8 million, or 19 cents a share, for the 13 weeks ended April

1. That was up from earnings of $127.3 million, or 16 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Revenue for the latest quarter rose 20 percent to $2.26 billion, compared to $1.89 billion last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had projected earnings of 19 cents per share on revenue of $2.3 billion.

Starbucks said sales at stores open at least 13 months rose 4 percent over the same quarter last year. That’s toward the low end of its forecast, which Michael Casey, the company’s chief financial officer, attributed to a record second-quarter performance in 2006.

Starbucks held fast to its guidance for fiscal 2007, saying it expects revenue growth of about 20 percent, comparable-store sales growth of 3 percent to 7 percent, and earnings of between 87 cents and 89 cents per share.

Starbucks has more than 13,700 stores across the world and said it plans to open about 2,400 this fiscal year, about 1,700 of them in the United States.