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Starbucks reports higher quarterly profit

Starbucks Corp. (SBUX-Q) 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 after hours, despite a stronger-than-expected 7 percent jump in sales at established U.S. stores.
   
The Seattle company said on Wednesday that 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 weighed on profits in the latest quarter.
   
Starbucks forecast fiscal 2011 earnings of $1.46 US to $1.48 a share, 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.
   
Late last year, Starbucks started raising drink prices in the United States and China due to surging prices for coffee and other commodities. The company has warned that high coffee prices will trim profits this year.
   
Starbucks Chief Financial Officer Troy Alstead told Reuters the company had finished its market-by-market price increases. While Starbucks plans to "keep adjusting from time to time, here and there", he said no big price hikes were in the works.
   
High gasoline prices have not had a discernible impact on customer spending, said Alstead, who noted that traffic in the latest quarter rose 6 percent in the United States Same-restaurant sales rose 4 percent internationally.
   
Starbucks has roughly 11,000 cafes in the United States and another 6,000 elsewhere around the globe.
   
Net income for the company's fiscal second quarter, ended April 3,  rose 20 percent to $261.6 million, or 34 cents per share, matching analysts' average view, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
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