Starbucks Corp. began the fiscal year with a record-breaking first quarter, with same-store sales rising 9 percent in the Americas region, which includes the U.S., the company said Thursday. Traffic climbed 4 percent.

Over the holiday season, a record $1.9 billion was loaded onto Starbucks cards in the U.S. and Canada, the company said. One in six American adults received a Starbucks gift card during the quarter, an increase from one in seven the previous year.

Globally, same-store sales increased 8 percent, including a 4-percent increase in traffic for the Dec. 27-ended quarter, the company said.

Same-store sales continued to slow somewhat in the China/Asia Pacific region, or CAP, which recorded a 5-percent increase, including a 4-percent increase in traffic for the quarter, declining from the 6-percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2015 that followed double-digit growth earlier in 2015.

In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, or EMEA, Starbucks reported that same-store sales rose 1 percent, which was entirely credited to traffic growth.

“We’ve entered fiscal 2016 with another record-breaking quarter and a continuation of the accelerating momentum we saw in our business throughout 2015,” Scott Maw, Starbucks chief financial officer, said in a statement. “The investments we are making in our people and our business are driving record, industry-leading operating and financial performance and consistently strong comp growth, and are both paying off today and setting us up for continued strong performance into the future.”

Consolidated net revenue for the company increased 12 percent, to a record $5.4 billion, driven in part by the addition of 1,693 net new locations in fiscal 2015.

However, net income declined about 30 percent, to $687.6 million, or 46 cents per share, from $983.1 million, or 65 cents per share, a year ago, including costs associated with the acquisition of Starbucks Japan last year.

The Seattle-based operator added 528 net new units worldwide during the quarter, including 281 locations in the CAP region and 79 units in the EMEA region. Starbucks ended the quarter with 23,571 units in 70 countries.

The company said membership in the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program increased 23 percent during the quarter, and now includes about 11 million active members in the U.S. alone.

In fiscal 2016, which will include an extra week, Starbucks expects to open 1,800 net new units, including 700 locations in the Americas region, about half of which will be licensed, as well as 900 units in CAP, with two-thirds licensed, and 200 outlets in EMEA, nearly all licensed.

The company expects global same-store sales to rise above the mid-single digits for the year.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
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