You know that joke in which a visitor declares a city to be a ghost town because there's only one Starbucks store on every street? Turns out there's plenty of truth in the gag.
Pumped up on strong sales, Starbucks said in its fourth quarter earnings report Thursday that it plans to open 1,300 new stores worldwide in fiscal year 2013 – a 22% surge from this year. Already, the chain has 18,000 stores in 61 countries.
About 600 of the new stops will be in the Americas, with most in the U.S. The Seattle coffee giant is also boosting its presence in the Asia Pacific region by 600 stores, with half in China.
"We are well on our way to having more than 20,000 Starbucks stores on six continents by 2014," said Chief Executive Howard Schultz in a conference call with analysts.
Not that java addicts are complaining. This week, as Frankenstorm Sandy blew through the East Coast and cafes along the seaboard shut down, coffee junkies swarmed a single Starbucks that had stayed open near Times Square in New York City, according to the New York Post.
That's the kind of dedication that sent Starbuck's revenue up 11% to a fourth-quarter record of $3.4 billion for the period ended Sept. 30. Same-store sales in the Americas jumped 7% as both customer traffic and average check size increased.
For the year, revenue got a 14% boost to $13.3 billion, while same-store sales increased 7% globally and 8% in the Americas. The company raised its store count by 1,063 around the world and said it served 3 billion guests – 10 times the U.S. population.
Net income was stable over the quarter, inching up 0.1% to $359 million, or 46 cents a share, from $358.5 million, or 47 cents a share, a year earlier. For the full fiscal year, however, profit rose 11.1% to $1.4 billion, or $1.79 a share, from $1.2 billion, or $1.62 a share, in 2011.
This quarter, Starbucks opened its first stores in India, took on the burgeoning single-cup industry with its Verismo System, partnered with Square Inc. on a mobile payments program and began expanding its Evolution Fresh juice chain.
The company raised its forecasts for 2013, saying it predicts 15% to 20% in earnings per share and up to 13% revenue growth.