Starbucks Q1 profit surges 44% on increased sales and traffic

Seattle -- Starbucks Corp. reported that its first quarter net income rose nearly 44%, beating expectations, to $346.6 million in the period ended Jan. 2. That's up from $241.5 million a year earlier. Although the company expects its base of customers to keep growing, it offered a tepid full-year forecast, saying higher commodity costs could eat into its profit.

Revenue rose nearly 8% to $3 billion. Same store sales rose 7%, driven by a 5% boost in traffic and 2% higher average transaction. The figure rose 8% in the United States and 5% abroad.

The company said its improved margins offset the impact of unusually high coffee costs during the quarter. Starbucks said it has locked in its coffee prices for the remainder of the fiscal year. But bean prices remain higher than in 2010, and Starbucks faces higher dairy costs too.