Starbucks Slides as Outlook Falls Short

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Starbucks ( SBUX) slumped in late trades on Thursday after the Seattle-based coffee giant gave a fiscal 2012 outlook that's below the current consensus view.

Starbucks sees earnings of $1.81 to $1.84 a share for its fiscal 2012 ending in September. That's below the analysts' view for a profit of $1.86 a share. The company expects higher commodity prices to result in cost pressure of $230 million for the year, although most of that is reflected in the first half.

The company's previous outlook was for earnings of $1.78 to $1.82 a share in 2012.

For the third quarter ending in June, Starbucks forecast earnings of 45 to 46 cents a share vs. the consensus of 46 cents. It sees a profit of 46 to 48 cents a share for the September-ending quarter, below the average analysts' view of 50 cents.



The stock was last quoted at $58.11, down 4.2%, on volume of more than 800,000, according to Nasdaq.com. Based on Thursday's regular-session close at $60.66, the shares were up roughly 30% so far in 2012, hitting a 52-week high of $62 on April 16.

"On the strength of our business and recent trends, we are accelerating new store growth in fiscal 2012 to approximately 1,000 net new stores globally, and raising our earnings targets for the year," said Troy Alstead, the company's chief financial officer, in a statement. "With coffee cost pressures easing in the second half of the year and momentum building from investments in our growth initiatives, we are well positioned to deliver on our aggressive targets."

For the second quarter ended in March, Starbucks reported net income of $309.9 million, or 40 cents a share, on revenue of $3.2 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for a profit of 39 cents a share in the March-ended quarter on revenue of $3.18 billion.

Starbucks held to a target to improve operating margins by 50 to 100 basis points in 2012 over its fiscal 2011 non-GAAP levels, but said margins in the EMEA Europe, the Middle East and Africa region would decline year-over-year because of "the region's severe macro-economic challenges and the company's investments in the region."

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