Starbucks Americas cafe sales disappoint

By By Lisa BaertleinMarketsReuters

Starbucks Corp on Thursday reported a smaller-than-expected rise in quarterly sales at established restaurants in its U.S.-dominated Americas region amid a persistent restaurant slump.

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Sales in the Americas region were up 3 percent for the fiscal first quarter that ended Jan. 1, less than analysts' average estimate of a 3.9 percent rise, according to research firm Consensus Metrix.

Shares fell about 2 percent in after-hours trade.

Revenue in the quarter of $5.7 billion also was shy of the $5.8 billion average target of analysts compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Adjusted earnings per share of 52 cents met expectations.

The Americas region contributed 62 percent of Starbucks' total net revenue in the latest fiscal year. Much of that came from the United States, where Starbucks and other chains have been battling direct rivals as well as heavily discounted meal kits and unusually low grocery prices.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles and Peter Henderson in San Francisco; Editing by Matthew Lewis)