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posted March sales gains on Wednesday at the high end of its long-term target range, thanks to strong sales of its espresso beverages and the continued expansion of its food program.

The coffee giant said same-store sales for the month rose 6% over the same month last year, hitting the high end of its long-term guidance of 3% to 7% gains. The gain was about three-tenths of a percent below Wall Street forecasts.

Total revenue reached $599 million, a 22% increase over last year's $493 million.

"Delivering strong comparable-store sales growth at the high end of our longer-term target range demonstrates our ongoing ability to grow the Starbucks brand on a global basis," Jim Donald, Starbucks' president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Shares of Starbucks closed up 39 cents, or 0.7%, to $52.13.