Starbucks' profit climbs 34 percent

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 16: The signage on a branch of Starbucks Coffee on October 16, 2012 in London, England. It has been reveled that Starbucks, the world's second largest coffee chain, has paid no tax in the UK for the past three years despite sales exceeding 1 billion GBP. Since first trading in the UK in 1998 Starbucks has paid 8.6 million GBP in income tax with total sales of over 3 billion GBP in the same period. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images) Oli Scarff

NEW YORK Starbucks (SBUX) says its profit rose 34 percent in its fiscal fourth-quarter, as the coffee chain attracted more customers around the world.

The Seattle-based company said global sales rose 7 percent at cafes open at least a year, including an 8 percent rise in both the U.S. and Asia. In the region encompassing Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where the company has struggled, the figure rose 2 percent.

Starbucks Corp. has managed to keep growing through a mix of measures. It's adding items such as Evolution juices, which can cost as much as $6 a bottle, and has revamped its food offerings to get people to spend more when they visit. Prices were also hiked over the summer.

For the quarter, Starbucks said it earned $481.1 million, or 63 cents per share. Analysts expected 59 cents per share. A year ago, the company earned $359 million, or 46 cents per share.

Revenue rose to $3.8 billion, but was short of the $3.81 billion analysts expected, and its stock fell 2 percent to $79.20. Over the past year, the stock is up more than 73 percent.

Starbucks also said Wednesday that it expects revenue growth of "10 percent or greater" for 2014. In the previous quarter, it had specified a forecast of 10 percent to 13 percent growth.

Still, the sales performance in the latest quarter is somewhat of a standout in the broader restaurant industry. Chains including McDonald's and Burger King have blamed the weak economy for underwhelming results. But others are faring relatively well, with Chipotle reporting a 6.2 percent sales increase at stores open at least a year and Dunkin' Donuts reporting a 4.2 percent for the latest quarter.

Starbucks has about 20,000 locations around the world, with about 12,000 of those in the U.S.

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