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Starbucks said yesterday that its Q3 sales increased 11.5 percent to $6.31 billion, while profit was up 23 percent to $852.5 million.

Same-store sales were up in the US by one percent, even as traffic was down two percent - which means that Starbucks was able to improve its numbers by raising prices.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Starbucks seems to be anticipating tougher times: it “lowered its expectation for global comparable sales growth this fiscal year to below 3%, from a previous estimate of 3% to 5% growth.” Starbucks, the story says, is “trying to shore up its business by closing underperforming stores and slowing the growth of licensed stores in airports and supermarkets,” while at the same time “adding stores in regions including the South, raising concerns among some analysts that the chain may be overextending itself again.”

Starbucks’ third quarter is the last during which Howard Schultz was chairman of the company; he has departed amid speculation that he will get more heavily involved in national politics, including a possible run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

New CEO Kevin Johnson, the Journal writes, “told investors last month that his plan for boosting U.S. sales involves selling more items targeted to customer preferences through the Starbucks mobile app. The chain recently opened its app to customers who aren’t members of its rewards program and is giving rewards to anyone who registers a credit or debit card with the company. Membership in Starbucks’s rewards program was up 14% in the quarter compared with a year ago to 15.1 million users.”
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