News

Americas, Asia bolster Starbucks Q2 profits

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE — Starbucks reported that its second-quarter profit rose 26% to $390.4 million, up from $309.9 million last year, amid sales increases in the Americas and Asia regions.

Total net revenue for the quarter ended March 31 rose 11% to $3.56 billion, not quite the $3.58 billion Wall Street expected. Global same-store store sales grew 6%, driven by a 4% increase in traffic and a 2% increase in average ticket, marking the 13th consecutive quarter of global comp growth greater than 5%.

Same-store sales increased 6% in the Americas region and 8% in China and Asia Pacific. In Europe, it fell 2%.

Starbucks added 590 net new stores globally in the quarter. The company plans to open approximately 1,650 net new stores globally, reiterating the previous target of 1,300 Starbucks locations and including 350 Teavana stores acquired and to be opened in the year

"Starbucks record operating performance in Q2 continues to demonstrate the underlying strength and resilience of our expanding global business, and the increasing relevance of the Starbucks brand to consumers all around the world,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO. “Innovation and an enhanced customer experience drove strong comp sales and revenue growth, while a laser focus on improving efficiency and controlling costs enabled us to deliver record margins and earnings. Starbucks has never been better positioned to achieve the aspirational goal we have set of becoming one of the world’s most respected, admired and enduring brands.”

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FINANCE

George Soros takes 7.9% stake in J.C. Penney

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Giving a much-needed boost to J.C. Penney Co., George Soros’ Soros Fund Management bought 17.4 million shares of the troubled retailer, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The stake, which was seen as a vote of confidence in returning CEO Mike Ullman, makes the billionaire investor the fourth-largest Penney shareholder, with a 7.9% stake.

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FINANCE

Online sales tax bill moves forward in Senate

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to move forward with the Marketplace Fairness Act, legislation that would allow states to force retailers to collect online sales taxes, if the states choose to do so.

“Today’s vote in the Senate is proof that the special treatment of big online businesses at the expense of retailers on Main Street will soon be a thing of the past,” said Bill Hughes, senior VP for government affairs. “The overwhelmingly bipartisan support for leveling the playing field is rare in today’s political environment and paves the way for a level playing field once and for all.”

A final vote on the legislation had been expected this week but was pushed back to the week of May 6.

The bill would extend states’ authority to require retailers to collect tax outside their physical borders, though it would not require states to do so. It would exempt merchants with online annual out-of-state sales of $1 million or less.

The legislation faces opposition in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, where some Republicans view it as a tax increase. Financial firms also voiced opposition against the measure out of concerns it would give states new authority to impose taxes on financial transactions over the Internet.

Supporters of the measure range from Wal-Mart Stores to the National Governors’ Association. Opposition is led by eBay, whose CEO has been encouraging users to oppose the effort.

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