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Specialty coffee shop chain


(SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report

reported higher fourth-quarter profits after the close Thursday that matched Wall Street estimates, as the company recorded its best-ever yearly revenue and earnings.

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The Seattle-based company posted a fourth-quarter net profit of $58.5 million, or 15 cents a share, up from $53.2 million, or 14 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Total revenue for the quarter rose 25% to $865 million from $690 million, ahead of the $854 million consensus. Same-store sales rose 8% from their year-ago levels. Analysts were expecting the company to earn 15 cents a share, according to research firm Thomson Financial/First Call.

For the full year, Starbuck's said it earned $215.1 million, or 54 cents a share, the highest profit recorded in its history, compared with the $181.2 million, or 46 cents a share, it earned in 2001. Excluding a one-time charge taken in the second quarter and capital gains, the company posted a profit of 55 cents a share, in line with expectations. Total sales increased 24% to $3.3 billion from $2.6 billion, slightly ahead of the consensus estimate. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 6%.

Looking forward, the company reiterated its goals for 2003, saying it expects to open 1,200 new stores and achieve 3% to 7% same-store sales growth. On an annual basis, the company predicts revenue will grow 20% annually for the next three to five years. Earnings per share are targeted at 65 cents to 66 cents on 20% revenue growth. Analysts are projecting 2003 earnings to come in at 66 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

The shares were down 36 cents, or 1.6%, at $22.16, about 14% off its 52-week high of $25.70 set on April 12.