SEATTLE -- Starbucks Corp.'s profit climbed nearly 29% in the fourth quarter, beating Wall Street estimates. The company earned $358.5 million, or 47¢ a share, up from $278.9 million, or 37¢ per share, last year. Revenue rose 7% to $3 billion. The results beat analyst expectations of 36¢ a share on revenue of $2.95 billion.
The company said new drinks and food products and an expanded loyalty program helped offset the impact of a weak economy on customer spending, and of higher commodity costs.
Revenue in Starbucks stores increased 9% during the period worldwide, 10% in the U.S. and 6% internationally, with strong gains in China and some softness in the UK and Europe.
The coffee chain's consumer products segment generated revenue of $717.9 million, a 20% increase over last year. Starbucks has expanded the number of products it sells in grocery stores, including its Via instant coffee. It recently took distribution of its retail products back in-house after ending an agreement with Kraft Foods Inc. | SEE STORY
"Starbucks today is executing in all markets and across all channels," said chief executive Howard Schultz. "We have never been better positioned to go hard and go fast after the tremendous opportunity that lies ahead in 2012 and beyond."
The company's full fiscal year net income jumped nearly 32% to $1.25 billion, or $1.62 a share, up from $945.6 million, or $1.24 per share, in the prior year. Starbucks earned $1.52 per share on an adjusted basis, versus $1.23 in the prior year. Revenue increased 7% to $11.7 billion for the year.
Starbucks says it expects to earn $1.75 to $1.82 for the coming fiscal year, with the bulk of the growth coming in the second half of the year as the pressure of higher costs for coffee and other commodities is expected to ease. Starbucks said it has locked in some pricing contracts through 2013. The company also expects its sales growth to continue, which helps offset its higher costs.
Starbucks, which operates about 17,000 stores around the globe, said it plans to add 800 new stores in the coming year.