Starbucks' Sales Hit Record-High But Growth Slows

Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) said Thursday that its first-quarter revenue soared 12 percent to reach a record $4.2 billion, largely due to lower coffee costs and stronger sales around the world. Despite the rise in revenue, the Seattle-based coffee company said global same-store sales rose 5 percent, slower than the increase in the previous quarter and lower than the 6 percent predicted by analysts.

During the holidays, Starbucks said that fewer customers visited its stores than in years past. More people turned to online shopping during holiday 2013, which left fewer mall-goers out-and-about to make a coffee run while grabbing gifts.

Despite the slower growth, CEO Howard Schultz said in a conference call with analysts that he remained confident in sales growth going forward, that Starbucks' menu items can't be replicated online and its loyalty card business is growing. In fact, $1.3 billion was loaded on Starbucks cards during the quarter, with $4 billion loaded on cards over the past year.

For the three months ended Dec. 29, Starbucks earned $540.7 million, or 71 cents per share, compared to $432.2 million, or 57 cents per share in the year-ago period. The earnings beat the 69 cents per share analysts expected. Revenue rose to $4.24 billion, just shy of the $4.3 billion Wall Street predicted.

Looking ahead, the company maintained its guidance for sales at locations open at least 13 months to grow in the mid-single digits globally. Earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $2.59 to $2.67, up from the previous $2.55 to $2.65.

For more see:
-this Starbucks press release

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