Starbucks 3rd quarter profit climbs 37 percent

/ Source: The Associated Press

Starbucks' efforts to rebuild itself are taking hold: The world's largest coffee chain said Wednesday that its third-quarter profit rose 37 percent as more customers visited its coffee shops and spent more when they did.

The company said Wednesday that it earned $207.9 million or 27 cents per share during the quarter that ended in late June. That's compared with $151.5 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier, when it was stumbling under the weight of over-expansion.

Excluding one-time items, it earned 29 cents per share, meeting the average forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Starbucks' revenue climbed nearly 9 percent to $2.61 billion, topping analysts' estimate of $2.55 billion.

CFO Troy Alstead said the company was both gaining new customers and getting more frequent visits from coffee drinkers during the day. And customers bought more of Starbucks' Frappuccinos and its instant coffee, called Via.

"A lot of what we’ve done Via, custom drinks — is bringing in new (customers) and people buying when they weren't before," he said. "It's really driving people back through the doors."

R.W. Baird analyst David Tarantino called Wednesday's report "healthy" but said it might disappoint investors who hoped Starbucks would beat Wall Street forecasts.

Starbucks shares slipped 57 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $24.60 in after-hours trading Wednesday. The stock closed at $25.17 in regular trading.

The Seattle company announced it will pay a 30 percent higher quarterly dividend of 13 cents on Aug. 20 to those who held its stock on Aug. 4.

It also boosted its forecast for the full year, saying it expects to earn $1.22 to $1.23 per share, excluding one-time items. It previously forecast adjusted net income of $1.19 to $1.22 per share. Analysts expect full-year adjusted profit of $1.23 per share.

Starbucks closed hundreds of stores, cut scores of jobs and brought back founder Howard Schultz as CEO in its effort to rebound.