Starbucks Earns 26 Cents a Share, Matching Forecasts

Starbucks, the world's largest coffee shop chain, on Wednesday said quarterly earnings rose 18% as the number of stores grew and established outlets attracted more customers.

Net income for the fiscal first quarter was $205 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with $174 million, or 22 cents a share, a year ago. Results were in line with a Thomson Financial consensus estimate.

Sales at coffee shops open at least 13 months, a key retail measure known as same-store sales, rose 6 percent during the quarter. The company said the number of transactions at
established stores rose 4%, while the average value of each sale rose 2%.

Total revenue rose 21.8% to $2.36 billion. Analysts were expecting revenue of about $2.35 billion.

Starbucks, which is based in Seattle, said it still expects to earn between 87 cents and 89 cents per share for the year. Analysts are expecting earnings of about 89 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company expects same-store sales to rise between 3% and 7% this year and forecast overall revenue growth of about 20%.

Shares of Starbucks trade at about 39 times analysts' average 2007 earnings estimate, compared with an average multiple of 19.7 for companies in the Dow Jones U.S. restaurants and bars index.

The chain has added more food and items such as mugs, books and music in an effort to boost its same-store sales, which have been slowing. In addition, Starbucks has tried to trim costs and relieve congestion by adding new equipment.