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Starbucks profit rises despite hit from China

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Higher comparable sales in the United States helped offset the hit from a drop in China./AFP
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Feb 03, 2023 - 07:20 AM

NEW YORK — Starbucks reported higher quarterly profits Thursday, fueled by solid North American growth that compensated for continued weakness in China due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The big coffee chain’s results were a study in contrast between its two main markets, with North American comparable sales jumping 10 percent and China comparable sales slumping 29 percent.

The results in the United States reflected a lift from “strategic” price increases that helped offset the impact of increased spending on wages and employee benefits.

Acting Chief Executive Howard Schultz described the results as strong in light of “challenging global consumer and inflationary environments, a soft quarter for retail overall and the unprecedented, Covid-related headwinds that unfolded in China in Q1.”

Overall, profits rose 4.8 percent from the year-ago period to $855.2 million in the fiscal first quarter ending January 1. Revenues increased 8.2 percent to $8.7 billion.

The profits translated into earnings per share of 75 cents, a bit below analyst estimates.

Shares fell 2.4 percent to $106.57 in after-hours trading.

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