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Starbucks Profit Matches Estimates as U.S. Traffic Gains

Starbucks Corp., the world’s biggest coffee-shop operator, reported fiscal second-quarter profit that met analysts’ estimates as U.S. customer traffic improved while sales stagnated in Europe.

Net income advanced 26 percent to $390.4 million, or 51 cents a share, from $309.9 million, or 40 cents, a year earlier, the Seattle-based company said yesterday in a statement. Excluding certain items, profit was 48 cents, matching the average of 29 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Starbucks’s profit had topped estimates in 14 of the past 16 quarters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz has sought to boost U.S. sales by opening more cafes and expanding beyond coffee with the company’s own juice, baked goods and tea. The company last year began closing locations in Europe, mostly in the U.K., as a sovereign debt crisis in the 17-nation euro zone and a weakening currency has weighed on consumers there.

“Europe continues to be just a challenging place for us -- it’s a very, very difficult macro environment there,” Alstead said. Starbucks has closed about 30 cafes there, he said.

Comparable-store sales rose 6 percent in the Americas while declining 2 percent in the company’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa division.

The shares fell 1.1 percent to $59.85 at 9:44 a.m. in New York. They gained 13 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 12 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index.

U.S. Gains

Starbucks, which gets about three-quarters of revenue from the Americas, where it plans to open 600 stores in its fiscal 2013, last year also began selling its own single-serve coffee machine.

In the U.S., Starbucks can maintain “healthy” customer traffic and comparable-store sales growth in “quarters to come,” Chief Financial Officer Troy Alstead said in a telephone interview. Holiday gift-card redemptions and the company’s loyalty program helped sales during the quarter, he said.

Starbucks raised its forecast for fiscal 2013 earnings excluding some items to as much as $2.18 a share from as much as $2.15. On average, analysts project $2.17.

Profit in the company’s third quarter will be as much as 53 cents a share, Starbucks said in yesterday’s statement. That trails analysts’ average estimate of 54 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Global Sales

Global same-store sales 6 percent, trailing analysts’ average estimate for growth of 6.1 percent, according to Consensus Metrix, a researcher owned by Wayne, New Jersey-based Kaul Advisory Group. Same-store sales rose 8 percent in the company’s China and Asia Pacific region.

Comparable-store sales are considered an indicator of a retailer’s growth and performance because they exclude recent store openings and closings.

Revenue advanced 11 percent to $3.56 billion. Analysts estimated $3.58 billion, on average.

Starbucks has tried to increase sales by accelerating openings in China and India. The coffee seller opened its first location in India last year and is selling espresso drinks along with tandoori paneer rolls and fruit toast there. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. and Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. also are expanding in India.

Starbucks has more than 18,200 cafes worldwide, including about 11,100 in the U.S.

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