Starbucks raises outlook but shares slip

(REUTERS) - Starbucks Corp reported higher quarterly profit on Thursday that matched Wall Street estimates and it raised its full-year earnings forecast.

The world's biggest coffee chain cited strength in the United States (US), its top market, despite an industry-wide spending downturn in February due to a US payroll tax increase that lowered take-home pay.

Still, Starbucks shares fell 2.5 per cent in after hours trading.

Starbucks said net earnings rose to US$390.4 million (S$485 million), or 51 cents per share, in the fiscal second quarter that ended on March 31 from US$309.9 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding a 3 US cent-per-share gain on the sale of its stake in a Mexican venture, earnings were 48 US cents per share, matching analysts' average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 11 per cent to US$3.56 billion.

The company said it expects earnings of US$2.12 to US$2.18 per share this year, up from a prior target range of US$2.06 to US$2.15.

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