Starbucks tops sales, earnings estimates as newer menus click

FILE PHOTO – People walk past a Starbucks store in Los Angeles, California, United States, October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) – Starbucks Corp topped Wall Street forecasts for quarterly sales and earnings, as rejigged menus and heavy promotions helped attract customers to its cafes, driving its shares 4 percent higher on Thursday.

Results for the final three months of 2018 showed that the Seattle-headquartered company’s sales at established cafes in both the United States and China, its top two markets, topped analysts’ estimates thanks to the popularity of newer beverages.

Its most recent holiday-themed menus included popular items such as Gingerbread and Juniper lattes, while its Draft Nitro cold brew, launched in 2016 with the aim of creating a beer-like experience, has been credited with pulling in customers during slow afternoons.

The company has also teamed up with food delivery services in China to help boost sales.

Globally, Starbucks’ same-restaurant sales rose 4 percent in the three months ended Dec. 30, exceeding analysts’ average estimate of a 2.8 percent increase, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total net revenue climbed to $6.63 billion from $6.07 billion.

Quarterly net earnings attributable to Starbucks fell to $760.6 million from $2.25 billion a year earlier, reflecting nearly $1.8 billion in gains last year from acquisitions and the sale of some businesses.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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