Starbucks (SBUX) posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and record sales late Thursday, leading the world's largest coffee chain to raise its full-year forecast.  

Seattle-based Starbucks lifted its 2013 earnings per share target to a range of $2.06 to $2.15, up from an earlier view of $2.04 to $2.14, representing growth between 15% and 20%. It sees sales growth for the year of 10% to 13%.

The consensus is calling for earnings of $2.13 a share. 

The café operator posted net earnings last quarter of $359 million, or 46 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $358.5 million, or 47 cents, topping average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll by a penny.

Revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 climbed 11% during the quarter to a record $3.36 billion from $3.03 billion a year ago, narrowly below the Street’s view of $3.39 billion.

Global same-store sales, a key growth metric for retailers that measures sales at stores existing longer than a year, grew by 6%, led by a 5% improvement in traffic and a 1% uptick in average ticket. Americas same-store sales grew 7%.

“Our Q4 and overall 2012 fiscal year performance demonstrates the strength of our business and brand,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said in a statement. “The resiliency and relevance of our U.S. retail business, acceleration of the Channel Development business and expansion in Asia all contributed significantly to our strong results.”

Shares of Starbucks rallied nearly 6.5% to $49.62 after hours Thursday. 

Starbucks opened 250 new stores during the quarter compared with closing 124 in the year-earlier period, led by expansion in China, where the company increased its number of cafés by 51% to 132 compared with opening 81 in 2011.

The company expects to further accelerate its store growth target through the opening of about 1,300 net new stores around the world, representing year-over-year growth of 22%.

A majority of those openings will be in the U.S. in China.

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