Starbucks says profit rose 18 percent in 2Q

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NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks Corp. perked up its net income by 18 percent in its fiscal second quarter, as more customers visited its cafes around the world, and raised its forecast for the year.

The Seattle-based coffee chain said Thursday that it earned $309.9 million, or 40 cents per share, for the three months ended April 1. That's compared with a profit of $261.6 million, or 34 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue for the latest quarter rose to $3.2 billion, up from $2.79 billion a year ago. Results topped the 39 cents per share on revenue of $3.18 billion, analysts polled by FactSet were expecting.

Starbucks also raised its outlook for the year, saying it expects earnings per share to be in the range of $1.81 and $1.84, representing 19 percent to 21 percent growth from a year ago. The company expects the increase to be driven by a mix of increased revenue at cafes, new store openings and gains in the packaged goods that it sells in supermarkets and other retailers.

For the current quarter, Starbucks said global revenue at stores open at least a year increased by 7 percent, as a result of more customers and higher spending per visit. The figure is a key metric because it excludes the impact of newly opened or closed stores.

The gains were strongest in the China Asia Pacific region, where the figure rose 18 percent. The region is a critical expansion area for Starbucks; by 2014, the company says China will become its second largest market behind the U.S.

Revenue at cafes open at least a year rose 8 percent in the Americas and slipped 1 percent Europe, Middle East, Russia and Africa.

Also contributing to the strong quarterly performance was the company's expanding mix of consumer products, such as its cream and Tazo-branded K-Cup portion packs. Revenue from that division rose to $321.5 million, up 57 percent from a year ago.

Starbucks also noted that it will accelerate new store growth this year to about 1,000 net new stores globally.

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