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Starbucks Sales Miss Forecasts as Shares Slide

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Starbucks (SBUX - Get Report) shares were falling in after-market trading as revenue fell short of analyst expectations for the coffee-focused retailer's
September-ending fourth quarter.

The Seattle-based company reported net income of $481.1 million, or 63 cents a share, up 34% compared to the year earlier fourth quarter. Earnings included a 3-cent gain on the sale of Starbucks equity in Chile and Argentina joint ventures, it said. Consensus expectations were calling for the company to earn 60 cents a share.

Revenue rose 12.8% to $3.79 billion compared to the year earlier quarter, slightly below expectations of $3.81 billion.

Starbucks' global comparable stores sales rose 7% fueled by a 5% increase in traffic, it said. U.S. operations had comp sales growth of 8% in the quarter. Starbucks said comparable sales in its China and Asia Pacific markets rose 8%, but just 2% comp growth in its Europe, Middle East and Africa markets.

The company reported a 29% jump in operating income to $669 million. Operating margin for the quarter expanded 220 basis points to 17.6%.

Starbucks opened 558 new stores in last quarter.

Shares were falling 3.2% to $78.20.

For the full year net revenue rose 12% to $14.9 billion. Full-year global comparable sales rose 7%; with 8% comp growth in the U.S., specifically.

Starbucks ended fiscal 2013 with 19,767 stores.

"The fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 capped off by far the best year in Starbucks 42-year-history," said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks. "Our results were driven by disciplined, ongoing efforts to elevate the value and relevance of the Starbucks brand, continued innovation and the success of our efforts to deepen our connection to customers and communities around the world." Starbucks introduced fiscal 2014 targets. The company expects revenue growth between 10% and 13%, which includes mid-single digit comparable store sales growth. Starbucks also forecasted 2014 earnings per share in the range of $2.55 to $2.65, representing growth of 18% to 22%.

The company reiterated 2014 global comparable store sales growth in the mid-single digits and fiscal 2014 EPS of $2.55 to $2.65 a share. The company shaved its revenue target slightly: It expects revenue of 10% or greater for 2014, whereas it previously said 2014 revenue growth of 10% to 13%.
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