BUSINESS

Starbucks profit climbs as customers spend more in the US, Asia

01/24/2013 04:41 EST | Updated 03/26/2013 05:12 EDT
NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Seattle-based coffee chain said its profit rose 13 per cent in its fiscal first quarter, which was in line with Wall Street expectations. Results were boosted by a 6 per cent increase in global sales at cafes open at least a year, a key metric of health.

In the flagship Americas region, Starbucks said the figure rose 7 per cent as traffic and spending per visit increased with the help of holiday drinks such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte. In the China and Asia Pacific region, the figure rose 11 per cent driven primarily by an uptick in traffic.

But in Europe, a persistent weak spot the company, the figure fell 1 per cent. Starbucks executives have said they're working to turnaround the chain's performance in the region, in part by closing underperforming stores and improving customer service. Although traffic increased in Europe during the period, the amount people spent per visit declined.

"A lot of people were trading down it appears," said Troy Alstead, the company's chief financial officer, noting that fewer purchases included food.

For October-to-December period, Starbucks Corp. earned $432.2 million, or 57 cents per share. That's compared with $382.1 million, or 50 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 11 per cent to $3.8 billion. Analysts expected a profit of 57 cents per share on revenue of $3.85 billion, according to FactSet.

The company affirmed its outlook for the year, with earnings expected to be between $2.096 and $2.15 per share, representing growth of 15 to 20 per cent from the previous year.