Starbucks forecasts tepid 2011

By @ibtimes on

Starbucks Corp warned that rising fuel and dairy costs will take a bigger chunk out of earnings than previously anticipated, and offered a full-year forecast that disappointed Wall Street.

Shares of the world's largest coffee chain slid 1.7 percent after hours to $36.55 despite a stronger-than-expected 7 percent jump in sales at established U.S. stores.

The Seattle company said higher commodity costs will slash earnings by 22 cents a share this fiscal year, more than the 20 cents it originally forecast. Japan's earthquake March 11 and the bankruptcy of cafe partner Borders Group Inc also weighed on profit.

Starbucks forecast earnings of $1.46 to $1.48 a share for fiscal 2011, up marginally from $1.44 to $1.47 previously but below the $1.50 analysts had expected on average.

The coffee chain restarted profit growth in 2010 after a two-year restructuring that involved slashing costs and shuttering almost 1,000 cafes globally. Since then, investors have enjoyed quarterly profits that often topped analysts' views.

Starbucks shares have risen around 60 percent since the beginning of 2010, but the company has warned that high coffee prices will trim profits this year.

(For a graphic on Starbucks' share price see: http://r.reuters.com/xuz29r)

Net income for the company's fiscal second quarter, ended April 3, rose to $261.6 million, or 34 cents per share, from $217.3 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were looking for a profit of 34 cents for the latest quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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