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Starbucks net up 31%, in line with forecasts

Seattle-based coffee chain giant Starbucks Corp. posted a 31 percent increase in first-quarter profits, slightly above analyst estimates.
/ Source: Reuters

Starbucks Corp. reported a 31 percent increase in first-quarter net income Wednesday on strong sales of holiday products like Christmas blend coffee beans. The cofee-bar giant  also raised its earnings forecast for the current fiscal year.

Seattle-based Starbucks said net income for its fiscal first quarter ending Jan. 2 rose to $144.9 million or 35 cents per share from $110.4 million or 27 cents per share a year ago. Net revenue rose 24 percent to $1.6 billion.

Starbucks' profit was a bit better than the 34 cents per share that Wall Street analysts had expected on average, according to Reuters Estimates.

Starbucks raised its earnings forecast for the year to $1.15 to $1.17 per share, excluding stock option expenses. The company had previously forecast earnings of $1.12 to $1.15 per share, but analysts already had been projecting $1.17 on average.

Starbucks, which began expanding outside Seattle in 1987, recently has been opening an average of four stores a day and is on track to open its 10,000th store sometime this year. As of Jan. 2 the company had nearly 9,000 outlets, including about 6,400 in the United States alone.

Starbucks fell to $54.44 in after-hours trading on the Inet electronic brokerage from their Nasdaq close of $55.34. The company’s stock reached a 52-week high of $64.26 on Dec. 30, but shares have fallen since.