Starbucks Sets First Dividend

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Starbucks ( SBUX), with its turnaround effort apparently taking hold, announced today that it is giving back to investors with its first dividend of 10 cents a share.

The coffee retailer also announced on Wednesday that its board of directors approved a plan to buy back 15 million shares. Those are on top of the 6.3 million shares Starbucks still has remaining authorization to buy under a previous repurchase program.
Starbucks

"We are confident in the overall financial strength of our business and the strong cash flow it continues to generate," Chief Financial Officer Troy Alstead said in a statement.

The 10-cent-per-share dividend will be paid on April 23 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 7.

Sell Starbucks!: Against the Grain

This confidence is sending shares of Starbucks gaining 0.9% to $25.63 in morning trading.

It has, of course, taken time for Starbucks to regain investors' trust. Over the past two years, Starbucks was forced to shutter stores and lay off employees as sales faltered.

These cost cuts have aparently paid off. In its first quarter, Starbucks saw profit nearly quadruple to $241.5 million, or 32 cents a share, compared with $64.3 million, or 9 cents, in the year-ago period. Sales rose 4% to $2.72 billion from $2.62 billion last year, while same-store sales grew 4%.

Recently, other food and beverage companies, like Pepsi ( PEP), Yum Brands ( YUM) and Coca-Cola ( KO) have also issued or raised their dividends.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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