NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Starbucks' (SBUX) reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of 67 cents a share, slightly ahead of consensus expectations of 66 cents a share for the three month period. Revenue rose 11.2% to $4.15 billion, also slightly better than analysts' expectations of $4.14 billion. Starbucks' global comparable sales rose 6% in the quarter, "the 18th consecutive quarter of comp growth of 5% or greater," it said. In the Americas, comps rose 6%, with U.S. stores up 7%. Store comps in China/Asia Pacific rose 7% for the quarter, while stores in EMEA rose 3%.
For the third quarter, Starbucks said that its consolidated operating margin expanded 200 basis points to a third-quarter record of 18.5%, which it says was driven by "sale leverage."
The company opened 344 net new stores globally, it said.
Starbucks expects fourth-quarter earnings per share between 76 cents and 78 cents a share (adjusted EPS of 73 cents and 75 cents). Analysts expect fourth-quarter earnings of 74 cents a share.Starbucks introduced new fiscal 2015 target. It expects revenue growth of 10% or greater; global comparable sales growth in the "mid single digits;" an additional 1,600 net new stores globally; and EPS growth between 15-20% over fiscal 2014.
The coffee company has been expanding in food and "refreshment" beverages with the launch of Fizzio expands its food as well as packaged offerings with its single-serve K-Cups and ground coffee not to mention its expansion into tea through Teavana.
"Starbucks Q3 represents another quarter of outstanding operating performance in which each of our segments contributed to record results," said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks. "The increasing power of the Starbucks brand, the success of our best-in-class mobile, social and digital technologies and our greatest asset - over 300,000 partners who deliver the Starbucks Experience to over 70 million customers around the world each week - position us to continue growing our business around the world and into the future."
Shares were falling 3.2% in after hours trading.
--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.