July 27, 2012

Starbucks sharply lower after earnings miss

Starbucks shares were sharply lower Friday in premarket trading after the coffee giant lowered its outlook and reported earnings that fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

The Seattle-based mega-chain said Thursday that it earned 43 cents per share for the quarter ended July 1, a number that fell two cents short of forecasts.

Revenue rose 13% to $3.3 billion, yet failed to match predictions.

The disappointing results, coupled with a warning from the firm's management about the current quarter, quickly sent shares down by more than 10% in after-hours trading. The stock was down 11% before the opening bell Friday.

Starbucks now expects to earn 44 to 45 cents per share in the fourth quarter, and $2.04 to $2.14 per share for the full year, with global economic conditions attributing to the lower expectations.

"We're dealing with significant global economic and consumer challenges," CEO Howard Schultz said during a conference call with analysts.

Starbucks isn't the only company to cite international headwinds as a reason for disappointing earnings. Ford, DuPont and UPS have all raised similar concerns in recent days.

Starbucks indicated Thursday it may scale back operations in Europe.

(Related: Corporate America rings alarm on global slump)

"We are currently conducting a more thorough portfolio review ... [and may] potentially close more stores in Europe over the next few quarters, beginning in the fourth quarter," CFO Troy Alstead said.

Still, the company says it expects to open 1,200 net new stores in fiscal year 2013, many in the United States and China.

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