Starbucks sales surge as coffee drinkers return to cafes

Starbucks' global comparable sales growth surged 73 per cent in the latest three months. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Coffee drinkers returned to Starbucks cafes in a big way last quarter, fueling a surge in sales and better-than-expected profits, according to results released on Tuesday (July 27).

The coffee chain, which has invested in improving its smartphone app to facilitate online orders, raised its full-year profit forecast on the heels of the strong results, with showed key benchmarks posting big gains in the third quarter ending June 27.

"As the Great Human Reconnection continues to unfold, our partners are rising to the occasion, ready to meet our customers wherever they need us to be," said chief executive Kevin Johnson in an earnings release.

But shares fell in after-hours trading, with CNBC pointing to the reduced outlook for China sales.

Global comparable sales growth, which in the pre-pandemic era was considered strong which it showed increases in the high single digits, surged 73 per cent in the latest three months, reflecting the dramatic change in conditions due to the availability of coronavirus vaccines and the economic reopening.

The chain scored profits of US$1.1 billion (S$1.5 billion), compared with a loss of US$678.4 million in the same period of 2020. Revenues jumped nearly 78 per cent to $7.5 billion.

Starbucks lifted full-year forecasts on revenue and profits, although the updated outlook was mixed by region.

While the company sees a higher range for annual comparable sales growth in the Americas and the United States compared with an earlier forecast, it lowered the range for international sales.

And the company sees "roughly flat" China comparable sales growth in the upcoming quarter.

Shares were down 3.1 per cent to US$122.15 in after-hours trading.

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