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Starbucks Brews Up Profits

Starbucks Corp. reported that its fourth-quarter earnings were in line with analysts' expectations, but weak comparable-store sales growth may not be strong enough to perk up the stock Friday morning.

After trading closed Thursday, the specialty coffee retailer and roaster (SBUX) reported earnings of $25.6 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with earnings of $17.9 million, or 21 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. Starbucks' profit was in line with the First Call consensus estimate.

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Starbucks Corp. (SBUX)
The company reported that net revenue increased by 30 percent to $358 million from $275 million a year ago on strong retail and specialty sales. But comparable-store sales grew by a mere 3 percent from the same period a year ago.

The quarterly results reflect the late May 1998 acquisition of U.K. retailer Seattle Coffee Holdings Ltd.

Starbucks has more than 1,800 stores in North America, the United Kingdom and Asia. It sells coffee beans on the Internet and in supermarkets, and it provides direct delivery of coffee and equipment to offices. It also produces and markets a bottled coffee drink and ice creams.

Written By Khanh T.L. Tran

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