Starbucks ( SBUX) said December same-store sales rose 8%, driven by a strong holiday promotion performance.

However, a consensus had expected the company to post same-store sales growth of 9%, and shares had recently fallen to $59 in after-hours trading. The stock closed the regular session up 50 cents to $61.60.

The coffee-chain giant said after the bell Wednesday that revenue for the five weeks ended Jan. 2 rose 22% from $531 million a year earlier.

"Starbucks strong December results reflect one of the best holiday promotions that we have seen at Starbucks in many years, delivering comparable-store sales above the high end of our longer-term 3%-to-7% target range," said Howard Schultz, chairman. "From our seasonal beverage and food products, to gift offerings including music and the Starbucks Card, our holiday lineup was very well received by our customers."

For the 13 weeks ended Jan 2, 2005, revenue grew 24% to $1.6 billion. Same-store sales for the quarter rose 10%.